National Churches Trust - Cornerstone Grants Programme 2019-2023

Status:  Open to applications

Application Deadline: 05 November 2018


Grants to support the conservation and sustainable use of church buildings in the UK, focusing on larger and more complex projects with priority given to urgent structural repairs or the introduction of kitchens and accessible toilets.

Maximum Value: £ 50,000
Minimum Value: £ 10,000

Value Notes

Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available for urgent structural repairs costed at more than £100,000 including VAT.

Projects that introduce kitchens and accessible toilets to enable increased community use, costed at more than £30,000 including VAT, will also be considered.

Grants will cover up to 50% of the project cost.

Please note that the Trust has a limited amount of funding available.

Extended Description

The National Churches Trust supports church and chapel buildings open for worship throughout the UK. It funds urgent repairs and modernisation, provides expert advice on church maintenance and on how churches can continue to serve local communities and promote church heritage and tourism.

The National Churches Trust has launched the first grant of its new grants programme in line with the Trust's new strategy for 2019-2023.

The funding is for projects which can demonstrate how they meet the outcome in line with the new strategy:

  • Preserving heritage.
  • Promoting sustainability.
  • Inspiring support.

The Cornerstone Grants programme is intended to support structural repairs and maintenance issues costing more than £100,000 or the installation of kitchen and toilets costing over £30,000.

Latest Information

The next deadlines for applications are 5 November 2018, 4 March 2019 and 1 July 2019.                                 

Key Criteria

Places of worship of any denomination and age can apply.

Applications will be considered from listed and unlisted Christian places of worship across the UK.

Applications from the Trust’s priority areas are encouraged: North East England, Northern Ireland and Wales, though this is not to the exclusion of churches in other areas.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that:

  • The building is a Christian place of worship (but not a cathedral) within the UK, and open for at least six services of public worship each year.
  • They own the building or have the right to carry out the work. If the church is not part of a major denomination, then the denomination must be registered with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland or have charitable status.
  • The place of worship was built as a place of worship originally and is more than 30 years old.
  • The works must be to the main church building either directly part of the building or attached to it.
  • The building is open to the public for a minimum of 100 days a year beyond worship use or it will be following project completion.
  • The total project cost is estimated at more than £100,000 (including VAT and fees) if the project is for repair work, or over £30,000 if it is for the installation of kitchen and accessible toilet facilities.
  • Have already raised at least 50% of the total project cost.
  • The project is being led by a qualified professional, with conservation accreditation from a recognised institution if it is a listed building.
  • Have all the necessary permissions approved and in place before applying, including permissions from their governing body and local planning authority if planning permission and/or listed building consent is also required.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is for urgent and essential structural repair projects to buildings that were originally built as churches, or the installation of kitchen and toilets over £30,000.

Match Funding

Match funding of at least 50% is required. Applicants should have already raised 50% of the total project cost.


Funding is not available for the following:

  • Buildings that have been converted into places of worship, such as shops, offices or houses.
  • Chapels within hospitals, hospices, schools or prisons or other such institutions.
  • Projects that have started before the application was submitted.
  • Construction of new places of worship or separate structures.
  • Works to cathedral buildings.
  • Works to buildings that were not originally constructed as a place of worship.
  • Works to an existing building that is separate from the existing place of worship (even if it is on the same site, a church hall, or owned by the church).
  • Works required due to negligence.
  • Repairs to, or scheduled maintenance of boilers, clocks, organs, wall paintings, bells, monuments, fittings and fixtures and solar panels.
  • Reordering, lighting, electricity, and AV.
  • Works to boundary walls, paths, churchyards, churchyard monuments or car parks.
  • Stained glass restoration (unless urgent repairs to window structure, or the building is no longer watertight).
  • Construction of new places of worship or church halls.

Application Procedure

Guidance notes and an online application form can be found on the Trust's website.

Applications can be made at any time and are considered three times a year.

Contact The National Churches Trust for further information.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download their website.
Contact details:
The National Churches Trust 
7 Tufton Street 
020 7222 0605