English Heritage (EH) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) yesterday (Tuesday 1 March) announced a package of grants worth £17.5 million for repairs to Grade I and II*-listed religious buildings across England.
The announcement brings the total awarded in the last three years to nearly £52.5 million - a sum that has helped more than 600 buildings.
The vast majority of grants go to parish churches, but the scheme has also helped non-Anglican places of worship such as Brighton Synagogue, She
ffield Buddhist Centre and the World Mission Korean Presbyterian Church in Weybridge.
Yesterday's tranche will help to repair 165 historic places of worship and give a new lease of life to buildings that have, in many cases, been at the heart of the communities they serve for centuries.
Among those announced was St Barnabas, Pimlico, in London, which was served a Dangerous Structure Notice by the local authority following storm damage to the church spire in January 2004.
Richard Halsey, EH places of worship manager, said the funding would help some of the country's most important historic buildings.
'The grants announced today should fill the funding gap faced by congregations in maintaining some of England's finest buildings,' he said.
'In return, the public is guaranteed access and we can pass on this national inheritance in good repair to future generations,' Halsey added.by Ed Dorrell