To support the Caring for Places of Worship programme, English Heritage Social and Economic Research team commissioned a number of research projects.
This includes a consultation with owners and users of listed places of worship, a toolkit to support places of worship in carrying out their own consultation and an evaluation of the Heritage Lottery Fund/English Heritage Repair Grants for Places of Worship and the Listed Places of Worship scheme.
Results of the Consultation
In total, almost 70 places of worship took part in this research project. Its aim was to explore in more detail the issues faced by the managers and owners of places of worship and their role in local communities. Carried out by Living Stones – The Church and Community Trust, the results were used to inform the 'Caring for Places of Worship' booklet.
Key issues highlighted by owners and users of places of worship included worries around funding, especially for community projects, examples of weak partnerships between places of worship and local authorities and concerns regarding the sustainability of extended use.
We also found that listed places of worship play an important role in local communities with over half (55%) of trustees agreeing that they had received extra support from the local community because the place of worship was listed and nine in ten (88%) of congregation members agreeing that their listed place of worship contributed towards developing community spirit.
This information helped inform the 'Caring for Places of Worship' booklet and we will continue to analyse the findings and any implications for how we and our partners support listed places of worship.
In the right hand menu you can download a summary of the key findings plus the full Living Stones report, including their recommendations for supporting places of worship. Places of worship interested in carrying out their own consultation with local communities, users of their building and local authorities can also download a toolkit to support them in doing this.
Evaluation of the listed places of worship scheme
The listed places of worship (LPW) scheme provides listed places of worship with a grant equivalent to the VAT they have paid on repairs and maintenance. In May 2010, English Heritage commissioned a survey to find out more about the value and impact of the scheme to places of worship.
Both a summary of the results and the full report can be downloaded from the right hand side of the page.