1,000 churches could shut down over repairs and attendance

Created on: 4th August 2015

Approximately 887 places of worship have been placed on the critical list due to their need of repairs and a dramatic decline in church attendance. A Save Our Spires appeal has been launched in an effort to protect the 40 most threatened steeples while other of the Church of England's 16,000 buildings face closure because of the state of repair.

With the decline in church attendance of  17 million.  Britons identifying themselves as C of E or Anglican has drastically declined over the last two years and dwindling congregations cannot raise the money to fund complex and lengthy repair projects. Diana Evans, Head of Places of Worship Advice for Historic England commented on the issue:

"We should care because churches they are our history." "These are iconic buildings but they are also a vital part of the community.  If you look at rural areas, the pub and post office have closed, the village store is long gone, so churches take on a huge significance."

"These repair projects are costly and challenging because the policy is to replace like for like and that involves particular products and very skilled craftsmanship." "62% of the at risk churches have problems with their roofs and rainwater goods." "Congregations have done a fantastic job keeping buildings going day-to-day but something like subsidence or dealing with wear and tear on a spire which is hundreds of years old is a massive crisis."

"Churches are extraordinarily important because they represent the culture of a community like substance or dealing with wear and tear on a spire which is hundreds of years old is a massive crisis." "They are at the heart of the community and part of people's feelings of belonging."

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors identified 500 London churches transformed into luxury apartments over a five year period. The Heritage Lottery Fund has invested £527 million in more than 4, 000 projects supporting churches and chapels over the last decade.

Posted by Amanda Hopkins


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