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HLF's new funding for places of worship

Wren's St Stephen Walbrook, by the offices of Rothschild Bank (designed by Allies and Morrison) - one of the many City of London churches that tell a rich tale of the capital's history.

Some medieval churches in the UK stand in splendid isolation while ordinary houses from the same period - the 11th century - have crumbled around them and this is the story of St Oswald's Widford in Oxfordshire. Others in the City of London - and beyond - such as St Alfege Church in Greenwich, designed by Hawksmoor, survived the Blitz.

What they all have in common is the value of being testament to the history of the British Isles, the story of worshippers and the architects and builders who created them. Now the Heritage Lottery Fund has launched a new strategic partnership to help secure the future of some of these religious buildings.

'Places of worship: Inspiring Ideas' is welcoming applications from projects looking to explore innovative ideas and test new approaches to managing, caring for and funding historic places of worship of all faiths and denominations.

The aim of the fund is to help make precious historic places of worship financially resilient, so they are safeguarded for future generations..

Successful projects, HLF says, could focus on singles places of worship or partnerships working together linked by geographical location, theme or challenges faced.

Included in that might be activities that explore new models of managing the building and engaging with the wider community, or new ways of sharing learning and resources across a number of faith sites or brokering new partnerships.

The project is a partnership between HLF, the Pilgrim Trust, the Plunkett foundation and the National Chruches Trust with total funding available of at least £1 million. Applicants can apply for a grant of between £10,000 to £250,000 and all projects must be delivered in a single stage.

Ros Kerslake, HLF CEO, who spoke at our RIBA forum in January said: 'Places of worship have a particular set of challenges but sharing ideas and inspring others, will give congregations the tools needed to build a sustainable future',

This initiative is being rolled out with financial support from the Department of Digital, Media and Sport (DCMS) as a result of the Taylor Review on the Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals. HLF and DCMS will work together to make sure that the lessons from both initiatives are used to support places of worship work towards a more sustainable future.

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