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Supporting Christian Churches & Chapels in Essex & East London

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News stories from the Friends of Essex Churches Trust

Christmas cheer from the Friends of Essex Churches Trust

  • Up to £100,000 available for church improvements
  • Six churches share in £58,000

Churches and chapels in Essex and east London will receive a £100,000 boost next year thanks to a decision by The Friends of Essex Churches Trust.

The Trust is extending its grants policy and will now give grants to improve church buildings.

Lavatories, kitchens, heating systems and disabled access are among the improvement projects which are set to benefit from the change.

“Many church buildings already have a lavatory, kitchen, heating system and disabled access”

explained James Bettley, the Chairman of the Friends of Essex Churches Trust.

However, Dr Bettley is encouraging all churches to have these up-to-date facilities installed.

Church buildings with modern facilities are welcoming. But the Trust would like all churches in Essex and east London to be welcoming places and to be around for future generations to enjoy. One of the reasons our beautiful and historic churches are here today is that they have made sensible changes over the years which keep them in use.

Making churches more user-friendly is important for another reason. It helps them to raise the funds, through community events, that enable them to keep up with the routine maintenance that ensures the building’s long-term survival.

It’s no exaggeration to say this is one of the greatest changes to the operation of the Friends since it was set up in 1951.

The amendment to the constitution of the Trust was passed at the AGM with unanimous support. The motion had been given prior support by the Charity Commission.

And in the latest round of grants towards repairs and restoration six churches – in Basildon, Leaden Roding, Rettendon, South Benfleet, Stanford Rivers and Stratford – will share a total of £58,000  Please see below.

This brings the amount awarded by the Trust for repairs and restoration in 2014 to £108,500 and Essex and east London churches and chapels will continue to receive support from the Trust for repairs and restoration this year and in the future.

The Friends of Essex Churches Trust supports churches and chapels of all Christian denominations in Essex and east London.

Eligibility for improvement grants

To be eligible improvement projects will either help reduce the need for future repairs - like upgraded rainwater disposal systems, safe access to towers and other high spaces or security systems - or provide amenities that make the building more suitable for modern-day use - like lavatories, kitchen facilities, heating and disabled access. The change will come in from January 1, 2015.

General lighting, redecoration, reseating, liturgical re-ordering and the introduction of other furnishings and fittings will not be included in the new scheme. Priority will continue to be given to repairs.

More information

For more information please contact John Bloomfield, the Secretary of our Grants Committee, Email john.bloomfield@btinternet.com, Tel 01708 745273, 39 Lake Rise, Romford RM1 4DZ.

Six churches share in £58,000

Church NameAmount (£) Purpose of grant
St John, Stratford 2000 High-level re-pointing of parapets
St Margaret, Stanford Rivers 15,000 Re-roofing
St Martin of Tours, Basildon 15,000 Major concrete repairs, replacement of guttering
St Mary the Virgin, South Benfleet 10,000 Replacement of nave floor and other repairs
All Saints, Rettendon 15,000 Re-roofing
St Michael & All Angels, Leaden Roding 1000 Repairs to timber belfry and spire


Rettendon church
Rettendon church – offered £15,000 (picture by Jon Longman)

Dr James Bettley
Dr James Bettley, Chairman of The Friends of Essex Churches Trust 

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