This page was redesigned early September 2017. The previous page was frozen and archived here.
HLF Grants for Places of Worship (GPOW) scheme
The dedicated Grants for Places of Worship (GPOW) run by the Heritage Lottery Fund scheme is now closing for further applications. Note that this does not affect the government’s grant scheme for reimbursing expenditure on VAT (called the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme).
2. Obtaining a grant from HLF for repairs to places of worship
Grants are available for places of worship from HLF via other grant schemes. The best place to start is on the HLF website, at https://www.hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/what-we-fund/buildings-and-monuments/places-worship. After you have read this, you might like to look at our applying for hlf grants page.
3. The closure of GPOW: Discussions with HLF and government, and commentary
In common with many others who care for historic churches, we feel the closure of GPOW was a retrogade step. You can see our reasons in section 3. of the archived version of this page.
There has been considerable correspondence and commentary on this issue. Here is the most recent, shown by date of posting on this site (most recent first).
8 Sep 2017 In a document we received today, HLF indicated that they are now guaranteeing funding for places of worship for two years, not one. As HLF point out, actual funding to places of worship is likely to be far more than the guarantee (and will, we believe, continue to be widely appreciated). Indeed, if funding did drop to the level of the guarantee, it would be extremely serious, as it would mean that (proportionally) far less – less than two-thirds as much – was being spent on repairs than is likely to have been the case under the old arrangements.
Why is this? It’s for two reasons. First, this year’s guarantee of £20m covers matters other than repairs (whereas under the old arrangements the GPOW £20m would have been almost entirely (95%) spent on repairs). Secondly, and more importantly, under the old arrangements the GPOW guaranteed pot of £20m was only for grants up to a certain size. More than half as much again (proportionally) was being spent in recent years on huge repairs outside the GPOW scheme, on top of the GPOW £20m. So the £20m guarantee which is for everything is for a figure far less than is likely to have been spent on repairs alone under the old arrangements. (To create an approximate equivalence with the previous arrangements, the guarantee of £20m would have to apply to repair grants up to, say, £250k.)
5 Sep 2017 In August we organised a letter to DCMS signed by 35 organisations in England and Wales who are engaged with historic places of worship. The letter pointed out that for the first time in forty years there is now no grant scheme dedicated to helping with major repairs to places of worship. The letter expressed concern about this, and asked to engage with DCMS on the issue. A reply has now been received. 11 Sep We forgot to point out that this letter helpfully states that the VAT reclaim scheme (the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme) will be continuing until 2020, a point on which there had been some doubt.
5 Sep 2017 The Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies wrote to HLF on 31 July expressing concern about the impact of closing GPOW.
5 Sep 2017 The Places of Worship Forum wrote to DCMS in May 2017 expressing concern about the closure of GPOW (we have only recently seen this letter). The Places of Worship Forum is convened by Historic England (HE), but is independent of HE, and HE has no influence on the views it expresses.
27 July Historic England (HE) have issued a statement relating to the closure of GPOW. In brief, HE will work with HLF to monitor the effect of decreasing specialist involvement in repairs, and with HLF and others to check whether competition ‘from better resourced applicants’ has disadvantaged any group seeking an HLF grant for repairs to its listed place of worship.
4. Contact details for HLF and the Government (DCMS)
DCMS contact details
John Glen, MP, Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS, 100 Parliament St, Westminster, SW1A 2BQ
firstname.lastname@example.org (for DCMS) and email@example.com (as an MP)
HLF contact details
Ms Ros Kerslake, OBE, Chief Executive, Heritage Lottery Fund, 7 Holbein Place, SW1W 8NR