Who pays for repairs to the fabric of the church?

Many people assume that in some undefined way it is paid for by the Church of England or the Government.  It is not.  The church is run by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) a small group of volunteers drawn from the limited congregation. The amount of money that they raise by way of collections and fundraising events is barely sufficient to pay for the running and day-to-day maintenance of the church, let alone the ‘Parish Share’, which goes towards the salaries of the clergy. Grants have been available in the past but, in the present financial climate, they are more difficult to obtain.

The role of the Friends
The Friends of All Saints’ Church is a registered charity, whose objective is specifically to raise funds for the restoration of the church. Some of the Friends are churchgoers, but many are not. In the past the Friends have been reasonably successful in their task, but we are an aging group and it is becoming an increasing struggle.


People who have kindly donated money towards the restoration of the church often query why it takes so long to get work done, and why even comparatively simple tasks cost so much money. The next two sections may throw some light on this.

Listed Buildings
English Heritage has the task of protecting England’s architectural heritage and it lists those buildings that it considers to be “special architectural or historical interest”.  Listing ensures that the architectural and historic interest of the building is carefully considered before any alterations, either outside or inside, are agreed.  Now, these buildings are graded to show their relative architectural or historical interest, and All Saints’ Church is a Grade 1 listed building, which means that it is regarded as being of “exceptional interest” (only about 2% of listed buildings are in this grade).  This means that any work that we wish to do on the building or in the churchyard is closely scrutinised.

Although being listed makes the church eligible for a grant, it does not mean that a grant is available and it is becoming increasingly difficult to get grants to support such work.

Faculties and the Diocesan Advisory Committee
There are additional hurdles to be surmounted when trying to carry out restoration work on a church.  It is first necessary to apply for a ‘faculty’, which is the permission from the diocese to do the work in question. This application is then scrutinised by the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).  Sometimes, when looked at from our point of view, the demands of the DAC can appear excessive.  Its view would seem to be that only the highest standards are acceptable.  Whilst highly laudable in principle, the outcome in practice can be that the costs soon exceed the funding available and, rather than compromise, nothing at all is done.  Furthermore, all work of any significance has to be supervised by an architect selected from their approved list and this adds a further 14% to the cost of a project.

A warning
A lot of work has been done on the church in recent years, but this has almost drained the funds of both the PCC and the Friends.  Unless attitudes change, it will not be long before the task of maintaining this church is beyond the capabilities of the group of dedicated amateurs who form the PCC and the Friends.

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Page Updated: 24/03/12
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