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Divine intervention: National Churches Trust bless Radcliffe St Thomas and St John parish with £10,000 repair grant

By Dean Wilkins

A Radcliffe church is to receive £10,000 as part of The National Churches Trust plans to support repair projects across the country with a £546,000 grant.

St Thomas and St John church is a grade II listed building, first consecrated in 1864, and needs the money for masonry repairs and to repoint walls.

The building provides a warm and welcoming centre for local Brownie groups, Rainbows, toddlers as well as thousands of weddings, baptisms, communions and funerals during its near 150-year history.

Reverend Christopher Brown said: “I only just found out about the successful application and we’re absolutely delighted!

“The more the better! It’s vital that we make the church’s first repairs in order to keep it in the community and it’s not a lot but it will go a long way.”

The National Churches Trust is supporting projects to repair stonework and architectural features and money will be spent on improving facilities.

The charity has provided grants worth over £8m to almost 900 churches since it was set up five years ago.

And St Thomas and St John church were lucky enough to be selected as one to receive the money.

Reverend Brown added: “We’re very grateful to the wider church community; it means that everyone who uses the church will be able to continue doing so and get ready for a big party in two years time when we reach 150!”

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said: “We can be grateful to the National Churches Trust, which, since its formation in 2007, has helped to fund the repair and maintenance of almost 900 places of worship.

“Facilities have been modernised, disused spaces utilised, buildings converted and interiors reordered enabling these churches to play an even more active and valued role and in sustaining local communities.

“As it looks to the years ahead, the National Churches Trust will continue to provide much needed financial and practical help thus ensuring the future of church buildings as a vital focus for neighbourhoods in city and country areas.

“The Trust deserves our unstinting support.”

Heritage minister John Penrose said: “I warmly congratulate the National Churches Trust on the fifth anniversary of its launch as the successor to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust.

“The financial and practical support provided by the Trust helps many of Britain’s churches, chapels and meeting houses continue to flourish at the heart of their communities, by preserving their architecture and keeping their facilities up to date.

“I wish the Trust all the very best for the future.”

Claire Walker, chief executive of the National Churches Trust said: “Our latest grants will help ensure the future of 30 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland.

“Many of the church buildings we are supporting are major architectural landmarks.

“They are much loved both by local people, and by visitors who enjoy the beauty and history of these sacred spaces.

“Our grants, together with funding from partner organisations, will help pay for urgent repairs to roofs, stonework and precious architectural features.

“As well as being used for worship, churches are also vital to the well-being of the wider community. With local facilities such as libraries and social clubs closing, places of worship are often the only community spaces available for use by charities.

“Our grants therefore also fund new community spaces and up-to-date heating, kitchens and toilets. Improved facilities help places of worship support the local community and strengthen our society.

“The last few years have seen an epidemic of the theft of lead and a number of our grants will help fund the replacement of lead roofs.

“The National Churches Trust welcomes moves to increase the penalties imposed on the criminals who carry out these crimes, which can only increase the financial burden on hard-pressed church buildings.

“In these tough economic times, places of worship are finding it harder than ever to pay for essential repairs.”

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