A £330,000 rescue package for 21 of the UK’s most historic and community-minded churches and chapels has been announced by the National Churches Trust, including funds for St Wenappa’s Church, Gwennap and St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin.
Places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland have benefited from the latest round of funding from church building support charity, the National Churches Trust.
In Cornwall, St Wenappa’s Church, Gwennap has received £20,000 to help fund urgent repairs to the roof, which is in a very poor condition with slates slipping regularly.
Founded on a Celtic Monastery, the church dates from the 13th century and is now a three-aisled church with fine Victorian windows. It is one of only four churches in Cornwall with a detached bell tower. Bells are rung for services, weddings if required, and on Thursdays evenings for practice.
St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin has received £10,000 to help fund a project to install kitchen and toilet facilities within the church, including disabled and baby changing facilities.
St Petroc’s is the largest parish church in Cornwall. It features as one of the thirty churches in the BBC’s Songs of Praise Book, 'The Nation’s Favourite Churches'. Originally a Norman church, it is now primarily late 15th century. Adjoining the churchyard to the east are the remains of the Chapel of St Thomas, which is a scheduled ancient monument. The site is associated with pre-Norman monastic activity; the first dedication to St Petroc being 1299.
The church is used for civic and concert events. It acts as a centre for outreach, including local food bank collections. The present project to provide kitchen and toilet facilities will increase the potential for community use and reflect the demand and the changing demographics of the local and church community. Inward and European migration has resulted in an increase in the number of young families and children attending services and baptisms.
There is an equal demand from the elderly element of the congregation and those visiting or attending events at the church.
Buildings supported come from a wide range of denominations including Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic churches, as well as a United Reformed Church, Methodist chapels and a building belonging to the Celestial Church of Christ.
Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and vice-president of the National Churches Trust said: “The National Churches Trust’s £320,000 funding package will safeguard the future of 20 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland.
“National Churches Trust grants will help pay for urgent repairs to crumbling spires, leaking roofs and ancient drains, helping to bring some of the most beautiful and historic churches and chapels back to their full glory.”
“National Churches Trust grants will also fund a range of projects to install kitchens, toilets and improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities. This will help churches and chapels become welcoming community hubs that can better serve the needs of worshippers, community organisations and visitors. “