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Finding Grants

Finding grant making trusts and tips on completing application forms

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As with all grants, please check the criteria to see if you're eligible, and the t/c's to see if appropriate for your particular circumstances: 

  • National Churches Trust. NEW for 2017: 'Maintenance Grant'. The NCT have also recently launched a Project Viability grant scheme too. The deadlines for all their grants, including Community facilities and Repairs, are now on their website. Although the North West is not a priority area, they have said they still welcome our applications.
  • Roof alarm grants. For a limited period of time, AllChurches Trust have announced a scheme of grants of £1,000 towards the installation of roof alarms. Closing date is 31st March 2017
  • Church Buildings Council (CBC) conservation/repair grants 2017 In 2017, the CBC will increase the total funds available for parishes to apply for ‘Conservation Report’ on art works or historic furnishings, such as a wall painting, stained glass, monument, organ etc etc. This is the first step before applying for one of their grants for the repair work. All 2017 deadlines have now been published on their website.
  • Roof Repair Fund (government grant). The scheme is now closed. Guidance on their assessment criteria provided by the Religious Buildings Heritage Alliance.


Grant databases

Below are suggestions for searching compiled lists of grant funders.

  • Emily Allen, Church Buildings Development Officer at the Diocese of Chester, can conduct research on your behalf to suggest possible funders.
  • National List of Charitable Grants for Churches The Church of England’s Parish Resources have revised their guidance sheet on national grant funders. This details national grants for conservation/repair to buildings and artefacts, enhancing community facilties/projects and christian activity.
  • Shrinking the Footprint- grants list. A list of grant making trusts and foundations that support environmentally friendly projects such as energy efficiency, cycle racks, conservation and biodiversity (green spaces), community engagement projects etc etc
  • Open 4 Funding (Previously known as GrantNet). You can search a database of funders including trusts, government grants etc, on the Diocese of Chester website. The Diocese of Chester and Manchester share a license so it is free for parishes to register and provides a quick and easy search for funding
  • Local grants. See the Local Support page for further guidance on organisations that may be able to assist and searchable databases (funding portals)- all free
  • 360Giving. A website featuring lists of grant-making trusts. Free
  • Funding Central. A free database for organisations under £100,000 annual turnover, or £100 subscription cost if over
  • Charity Commission. Once you have the names of grant making trusts and foundations, look them up on this website, as many are also registered charities. Enter the trust's name in the purple 'charity search' box. It provides a wealth of information to inform your application.
  • Local projects. Has a community building recently been refurbished or opened in your area? If so, look up their details on the internet, as they will often be required to acknowledge their funders, or see if they have an acknowledgements plaque in the buildings


Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Heritage Lottery Fund - this is the primary funding body for urgent structural repairs to listed church buildings through the grant scheme 'Grants for Places of Worship. This scheme was previously administred by English Heritage (now known as Historic England since April 2015).

If your church would like to explore the ethics of accepting lottery funding, this document may be of benefit- it presents an even 'for and against' from a Christian perspective- For and Against accepting lottery funding.

The HLF run several grant schemes, which include:

  • Grants for Places of Worship (England). This is the main grant for urgent structural repairs to grade listed buildings, with accompanying heritage engagement activity for communities. Grants are available from £10,000 - £250,000 and can include up to 90% of the total project cost. It's a two stage application and can take considerable time to apply and manage the grant. The Diocese of Lincoln have produced an annotated worked example of a HLF 'Grants for Places of Worship' application form. NB: the deadline information on Lincoln's document is out of date, so check the website for 'when you need to apply' for this scheme.
  • Further HLF grants that may be relevent are 'Sharing Heritage', 'Our Heritage', Heritage', 'Young Roots', 'First World War' and potentially 'Landscape Partnerships' if the project focus is heritage. See HLF website for details
  • Next steps - Compare with other grant funders. If you decide to apply to HLF, the first step is to complete a 'Project Enquiry Form'. This can be found on each grant scheme webpage
  • Ideas for heritage engagement activities. Keep an eye on the HLF blog for telling your storyYou may also find the Diocese of Chester Heritage webpages helpful- especially Heritage Projects and Displays and Interpretation. 
  • Tendering. Please note you must follow the national guidance; this includes tendering for any architect fees over £10,000 (at least 3 quotes are needed). HLF can cover the cost of tendering for such work in the 'development phase' of the project; for example, cost of the advert or paying a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to organise the tender for the architect's appointment.  For further advice, see the Building Projects section of this Fundraising Guide- on the above link, scroll down to the 'Procurement' subheading
  • Need further assistance? Drop a line to Emily Allen, Church Buildings Development Officer


Top tips in writing applications

This additional page has advice on the main legal and financial questions asked (for example, constitution, charity status and financial statements), plus top tips on writing style- see Writing Applications


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