During 2016 the Government commissioned a review into the sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals:
Called the Taylor Review after Bernard Taylor, the review’s chair, the report was published in December 2017. Among the recommendations were the setting up of a Government-funded small repair fund and the appointment of advisers. It suggested two 18-month trials should run and in March 2018 the areas of Suffolk and Greater Manchester were chosen for the pilots.
As of September 2018 Suffolk churches, together with churches in Greater Manchester will have access to a £1 million government fund for church repairs over the next two years. The £1 million fund will be divided between two areas. In addition to the fund a fabric support adviser and a community support adviser, funded by Historic England, have been appointed to assist communities of all faiths and denominations in Suffolk who look after listed places of worship.
The fabric adviser, Barbara Beckett, will be signposting faith communities towards a more strategic approach for maintaining their building.
The community support adviser, Laura Emmins, will help faith communities engage with the wider, non-worshipping community in order for non-worship activities to be held within the building.
By increasing the number of routine repairs and undertaking regular maintenance of churches these buildings will be better preserved for the future. Making sure churches are open to the public with active and engaging community activities is a key priority of the programme.
“This is an exciting development, for Suffolk and the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is delighted Suffolk has been chosen as a pilot. Our church buildings are often at the heart of the community. The appointment of Tom and Laura will assist the volunteers maintaining these historic assets as well as increasing community engagement so more people can benefit from these spectacular buildings” James Halsall