The National Churches Trust was successful in receiving £90,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in June 2016 for the Yorkshire Maintenance Project which focuses on promoting good practice in preventative maintenance at Yorkshire’s historic churches, chapels and meeting houses, delivering systems to make it easier for churches to maintain their historic fabric.
This project will set up a maintenance management system to connect churches with maintenance professionals, and address skills and information gaps for churches in Yorkshire. The aims of the project are:
- To promote awareness of the benefits of preventative maintenance through training
- To increase the number of Yorkshire churches that regularly undertake maintenance
- To improve knowledge of the conditions of churches at high level
- To result in heritage being in better condition as a result of the regular maintenance care and inspections
The NCT are offering a micro grants scheme, in partnership with the Pilgrim Trust, which will help churches pay for 50% of their first gutter clearance contract. There are up to 200 grants available this year for churches who meet the eligibility criteria.
Current progress in the delivery of the project aims:
- Training sessions on church maintenance will be delivered by trainers from the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) to volunteers to help establish four new mini maintenance co-operatives in Sheffield, Doncaster Leeds and York. Venues and dates are currently being identified to enable the first day of training to be delivered in November within each of the four locations. A second day of follow-up training will take place early in 2017. Training details here
- Drone surveys were completed of 9 churches by MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) during the summer months. The digital outputs from the flights (consisting of video and images) are now ready to be shared with the participating churches and their architects. File transfer mechanisms are currently being upgraded at the NCT to allow the churches to easily view and download the detailed information within the next two weeks. The drone information should help to inform the Management and Maintenance Plans, Quinquennial Inspections and immediate repair needs of these churches as well as allow accurate quotes for small scale repair works. Feedback is also being sought from the church architects on the utility and quality of the drone images which will inform the project evaluation and help us prepare a guide for churches on how to plan for an effective drone survey.
- Progress is being made on researching suitable contractors who can carry out the gutter clearance services across Yorkshire. Care is being taken to identify contractors who have experience of maintaining historic church buildings and are sympathetic to the fabric of listed buildings. The aim is to have a small number of reliable contractors based across Yorkshire who have enough capacity to carry out the gutter clearance works in their areas and can be booked through the Maintenance Booker service. Working within a framework contract the NCT will negotiate a competitive price for the gutter clearance service with costs for small charges likely to start at £250.
- Work on ‘Maintenance Booker’, a new web based maintenance service, is also moving forward having recently tendered for the website design. It is anticipated that the service will be available to all churches across Yorkshire, listed and unlisted and will launch in early 2017. More information will be available soon.
Further information about the scheme can be found at here