Building Management Support and Advice
Maintaining the fabric of the building is often one of the top concerns for Unitarian Trustees and Congregational Committees. As well as Unitarian groups providing advice and resources, there are several other programmes and guides in the UK which may be helpful.
Building Advisory Panel
The purpose of the Buildings Advisory Panel is to offer clear guidance and practical support on developing financing, and maintaining congregational buildings and land. It reports to the Local Leadership Strategy Group. You can fill and submit online the Buildings Advisory Panel form.
For further information contact Derek McAuley, Chief Officer at Essex Hall.
The Panel have created an energy-saving offer to enable congregations to potentially save money. For more information see the attached explanatory flyer, and then complete the Letter of Agreement if interested.
The Gregson Trust offers grants to Unitarian Chapels.
If it is more than five years since your chapel was professionally surveyed, you can ask for £500 towards the cost of a Survey. You do not need to fill out an application form or wait for a meeting of the Trustees, Simply write to the Secretary, stating when the Chapel was last surveyed and enclose a copy of your most recent accounts.
If you have an urgent problem at your chapel that must be dealt with at once (water coming in, the discovery of dry rot etc) and you do not have the money to pay for this, you can ask for an Emergency Grant of up to £1500. Contact the Secretary at once, and she will let you know how to proceed. A decision can be made within days by the Trust's Building Committee.
For repairs to the fabric of the Building
If you are planning repair work, or maintenance to your chapel, to may be eligible for a major grant of several thousand pounds, depending upon the cost of the works. For these grants you will need to apply on the Trust's Application Form. You should apply by early May for the June meeting and by late September for the November meeting. The June meeting mainly deals with repairs whilst the November meeting deals with both repairs and major refurbishment schemes. There are some things, such as repairs to pipe organs and electrical wiring that are excluded from the Trust's remit.
Other Sources of Advice and Support
There are also significant resources - guidance and potentially money - available elsewhere.
"Caring for Places of Worship" is a new practical guide, DVD and website produced by English Heritage for all those caring for England's 14,500 Grade I, II* and II listed places of worship. This will be of great value for all congregations, not simply those with buildings in these categories.
The Church of England offers through its "Churchcare" programme much advice which is relevant to any place of worship, particularly on how churches can contribute to their wider communities in an increasing variety of ways and working with a whole range of partners. If you are interested in a community development approach to the use of your building the CoE Hereford Diocese has produced a free toolkit called "Crossing the Threshold". It is all about getting different people to "cross your threshold".
National Churches Trust A similar approach is supported by the National Churches Trust who support projects which have helped with community use, such a new toilets as well as repairs.
Faith in Maintenance offers support to volunteers who look after historic places of worship.
William and Jane Morris Fund
The William and Jane Morris Fund offers grants of up to £1000 for pre-1896 buildings with preference given to limited programmes of work concerned with the conservation of decorative features; for example, stained glass windows, sculpture, furniture, internal monuments and tombs, and wall paintings.
Awards for All
Awards for All is a Lottery grants scheme funding small, locally based community projects and may be relevant if your premises are used by local community organisations.
Landfill Communities Fund
Funding may be available from the Landfill Communities Fund to maintain, repair or restore a place of worship.