What are you looking for?

Menu icon

Repairing and Developing your Church


Most churches in our diocese are medieval. It is important to use the correct materials and methods for repair and to seek professional advice.

Your architect or surveyor should produce a specification and schedule of works which describes the repair and details the materials to be used. The DAC will need to see this. The archdeacon will usually be able to authorise the repair without the need for a faculty but the paperwork will need to be seen by a DAC representative. Please allow four weeks for this process. The PDF downloads below are designed to guide you through this process.


Churches do develop over time and they need to change to accommodate new needs or liturgical practice. However, PCCs need to make the case for such changes and this is done through the production of a Statement of Needs and a Statement of Significance.

The DAC may wish to visit the church to discuss your plans in the context of the building. Draft Statements are useful tools to prepare the DAC for the visit. The DAC may want other organisations to be part of the visit as they will have a say in allowing the works to proceed. Groups such as Historic England, the SPAB, the Victorian Society and the national Church Buildings Council won’t attend a site visit until they have seen your draft Statements.

Resources for community use

How can you open up your church more effectively to the local community or make the building better fit for mission? What are the practicalities of embarking on a community-led project? Here are some useful resources.

The following sections give greater detail on funding and maintenance. 

  • Funding-+

    When it comes to raising funds for your church buildings – whether it’s for urgent repairs, installation of toilets and kitchens, a re-ordering for a more community-friendly space, or conserving historic treasures, this section will guide you through your first steps.

    Getting started

    Who do you contact first? Below is a list of funders under useful headings to get you started. Once you get your first bag of money to jingle, it will help you attract other funders.

    The FUNDfinder computer program is easy to use and gives your paraish free access to funding advice and sources of funding.The Paraish Resources website also offers a list of funders offering charitable grants for churches.

    Your strategy

    Aspirations, needs, priorities, outcomes. All this ‘grant-speak’ can be daunting but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Take a look at the checklist below from the leader of a highly successful project in a modestly-sized church within a small village to help you focus on your own scheme. 

    Apply early

    Funders such as the National Churches Trust like to see projects in their planning stages. Potential partners and funders will want to see a professional business plan for your project and your Statement of Significance is a good starting point.

    Who can help?

    Only a handful of funders can help with your particular project. That’s because each has strict criteria – usually found on their website. If you can’t match their requirements, it’s time to move on. You can view helpful presentations from the National Churches Trust and Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. They can help with both grants and advice on other funders. 

    Fundraising friends

    When raising funds from your own resources, the obvious place to start is with your Friends Group. Don’t have one? The National Churches Trust has a downloadable resources pack is approved by the Charity Commission.

  • Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)-+

    If you have urgent repairs, your bells are in need of restoration, or a wall painting needs to be conserved, then the Heritage Lottery Fund is a good place to start. Equally, if you want to launch a learning project or celebrate the anniversary of a famous figure linked to your church, there’s an HLF programme that can help. 

    Which programme?

    The Grants for Places of Worship (GPoW) programme is now at an end but there is still an opportunity to apply for funding under alternative programmes such as Heritage Grants  (over £100,000) or an ‘Our Heritage’ grant (£10,000-100,000).

    Information on other programmes can be found on the weblink below.

    You will be competing with other projects but the regional HLF team in Cambridge is keen for churches to apply. They encourage you to contact them to discuss your project so they can provide helpful guidance.



    HLF needs ‘outcomes’

    You will read about ‘outputs’ and ‘outcomes’ in HLF application guidance. The outputs are what you propose to do which should be ‘project specific’. This means you need to be clear about what activities you will do to promote the heritage of your building. You’ll also need to be honest and realistic about your capacity to manage the activities you propose.

    The key to success are the three ‘outcomes’ which spell out the difference your project will make for heritage, for people and for communities.

    HLF guidance/ Webpage -https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/difference-we-want-your-project-make


    Have your say on the HLF     

    The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is seeking views on how it should target its resources during the period 2019-24. This consultation on the future direction and funding of the HLF is open until Thursday 22 March 2018.

    It is quite a comprehensive survey but, as stakeholders in the heritage of our church buildings, it’s important for you to make your views known. The questions are not only for people that have previously applied for an HLF grant but for everyone with an interest in guiding the future direction of this major funder of church projects.

    Use the third weblink below if you would like to see the questions to help you consider your answers before completing the online survey 

    Help with outcomes

    You may have all your specs and costings in place but if you skimp on the ‘outcomes’ specified by the HLF you will be unlikely to succeed. Many churches are unsure about what activities they can manage that will engage ‘more people and a wider range of people’ with heritage.

  • Maintaining Your Church-+

    Churches are stout and simple and little can go wrong as long as you clean out gutters, downpipes and gullies. Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs but sometimes past mistakes have to be remedied and major projects undertaken.

    Who can help?

    The National Churches Trust offers a comprehensive guide to caring for your church building including examples of maintenance calendars for regular checks on the aspects to keep an eye on. There’s also a helpful section on health and safety issues.

    Managing your building/ Webpage - https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/building-advice/managing-your-building


    Health and safety

    If compliance with health and safety rules keeps you awake at night, Ecclesiastical Insurance has reassuring videos and downloadable guides to help you

    Extra help

    The Churchcare website offers help with caring for your building from quinquennial inspections and insurance to churchyards and archaeology. There’s an excellent Calendar of Care with a helpful checklist for every month of the year.

    The Building Conservation website is a mine of information and you can search for building materials and practices.

    Regular maintenance  

    A regular scheme can bring peace of mind on gutter clearance and other minor works and can minimise costs.

    The Elix scheme is operated by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, in partnership with MY Group and subsidised by Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. Elix 2 has been launched for the five years from 2014/15 to 2018/19 at an annual cost of £350 + vat fixed for the five-year period. Download the Elix brochure for more details or contact James Halsall or Charlotte Hodgson on 01473 298533.

Online faculty portal

Applications for faculties can be made using the online faculty portal. All supporting documents can be uploaded and regular emails inform you of your case's process through the system. Once registered you can apply for all future applications electronically.


If an emergency repair is necessary then please contact your Archdeacon or the DAC Secretary.

Latest Videos

Play Icon

CofE Connect St Augustine's (New Building)