roof repairs at St Cuthbert’s Church in Norham can now be carried out thanks to an £83,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.
The funding will be out towards the cost of re-roofing the south aisle and porch roofs, replacing defective timbers and carrying out a bat survey.
Rev Rob Kelsey, vicar of St Cuthbert’s, said: “We’re very grateful for this grant offer, which gives a massive boost to our fundraising efforts.
“The congregation at St Cuthbert’s takes good care of the church building on behalf of the whole community and we’re determined to ensure that the fabric is well maintained for the benefit of future generations.
Church warden and treasurer, Canon Terry Harris, added: “St Cuthbert’s is a glorious and historically important Grade I Listed building.
“Its wonderful ambience has been somewhat marred during recent rainy spells by the strategically-placed plastic buckets and the congregation is looking forward with eagerness to their removal!
“This generous grant will go a long way towards making this possible.”
The funding was awarded as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and English Heritage’s joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme.
Nationally, since 2002, almost £140m of grants have been awarded for more than 1500 projects at Grade I and II* historic places of worship through the scheme, which is the largest single source of funds to help congregations to care for historic churches, chapels, synagogues and other historic places of worship.
Despite the challenging economic climate, HLF and English Heritage have been able to maintain the planned level of funding and support for places of worship in the current financial year.
HLF has also confirmed that it will continue its increased level of support in future years. This means that despite English Heritage having to withdraw most of its contribution for new awards from now on, the scheme can continue in its current form.
However, there will be no reduction in the expert advice English Heritage staff and local support officers give to congregations all over the north east.
Carol Pyrah, north east planning and development regional director at English Heritage, said; “Thanks to the generosity of the HLF, and ultimately therefore of lottery players, our historic places of worship in direct need still have the vital safety net of the Repair Grants scheme.
“Without it, many brave but struggling congregations would be faced with watching their beloved churches and chapels falling into ruin.
“Instead, the combination of HLF money and English Heritage advice is seeing these wonderful buildings revived and restored and becoming ever more central to their communities as places of prayer and celebration and as a hub for local services.”
Ivor Crowther, head of the HLF in the north east, added: “Historic places of worship are one of our most treasured cultural assets.
“They occupy a unique position at the heart of the north east, and are a focus for so many civil and social activities in addition to their central purpose as a place for prayer and contemplation.
“Places of worship are one of the most instantly recognisable features of our cultural landscape, and they continue to inspire people to get involved with and learn about their shared history.
“This is at the very core of what the HLF wants to achieve and the reason we have substantially increased our investment to the programme.”