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Advance Notice - Maintenance Seminar

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The UHCT will be organising a seminar focusing on grants, maintenance and an update on the Pilot Maintenance Scheme.

Venue: Gracehill Moravian Church

Date: Friday 14th September 2018

Time: 10am - 1pm

Cost: £12 (Booking through Eventbrite nearer the time)

More details will be posted later this month.

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Maintenance information now downloadable

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Appreciating the Ecclesiastical Heritage of Limavady

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Thursday 28 September 2017

The Ulster Historic Churches Trust exists to promote best practice in Church maintenance and has run several seminars and conferences over many years. To date it has organised walking tours in Cookstown, Newtownards, Portadown, Derry/Londonderry, Armagh, Enniskillen and Knock, Belfast. In 2012 a major publication ‘New Life for Churches in Ireland-Good Practice in Conversion and Reuse’ was launched.

This latest event run in collaboration with Limavady Churches involves both a tour of local churches, designed to appreciate the rich legacy of Limavady's ecclesiastical heritage, followed by an informative talk aimed at how best to maintain these buildings for future generations. We hope that Glebe Wardens, Vergers, Sextons and Property Stewards will find this particularly helpful. Limavady is a handsome town with a number of fine places of worship. For this event we will visit four churches and pause outside two as time will not permit us to call at more.

You are warmly invited to join us for this event.

The walking tour includes the following churches: St Mary's Catholic Church, Limavady Methodist Church, Drumachose CoI Church and Drumachose Presbyterian Church. There will also be a stop outside 2nd Limavady and 1st Limavady Presbyterian churches.

2.00pm Tour begins at St Mary’s Catholic Church (parking available)
2.45pm Limavady Methodist Church
3.00pm Stop outside 2nd Limavady Presbyterian Church
3.15pm Park at Drumachose Church of Ireland
3.30pm Drumachose Presbyterian Church (stop at 1st Presbyterian)
4.30pm Drumachose Church of Ireland
5.30pm Refreshments (Drumachose Church of Ireland)
6.30pm Address by Manus Deery,
Assistant Director, Historic Environment Division
(If you are unable to join us for the walkabout, then please feel free to join us at Drumachose CoI at 5.30pm)
Publications relevant to church maintenance will be available for sale

□ members of my church/organisation will attend this event on Thurs 28 Sept
Name: _____________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________Tel: _____________
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post to Jill Kerry, 23 King's Brae, Belfast BT5 7ER


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The National Churches Trust Partnership Grants Programme 2017 is now open for applications from Northern Ireland

The Partnership Grants programme offers grants of between £2,500 and £10,000 towards the cost of urgent and essential structural repair projects, usually costing under £100,000 (incl. VAT and fees), or the installation of kitchen and toilets, usually costing under £25,000 (incl. VAT and fees).

Are you eligible?

• Is yours a Christian place of worship in Northern Ireland, and open for regular public worship?

• Was your place of worship built as a place of worship originally, and are the works proposed due to take place within or attached to the place of worship?

• Is the project in the planning stage, i.e. not yet started, but deliverable within 2 years?

• Have you already raised 50% of the total project cost?

• Is the project being led by a qualified professional, with conservation accreditation if it is a listed building?

• Is the church open for at least 40 days a year beyond worship use, or will it be on completion?

The next deadline for applications is 7 June 2017 for a decision in July.


Guidance notes and the application form can be found here:





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b2ap3_thumbnail_Gracehill-2.JPG b2ap3_thumbnail_Gracehill-5.JPG 

The Ulster Historic Churches Trust (UHCT), in partnership with the National Churches Trust (NCT) and with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), organised a seminar to launch the UHCT Pilot Maintenance Project and the NCT Partnership Grant Scheme. There were also several key speakers covering various aspects of maintenance and giving advice on available funding sources. The event was held at Gracehill Moravian Church on Friday 31st March 2017 and was attended by over 80 people all of whom were concerned with various aspects of church maintenance.

Following much appreciated refreshments supplied by the church, the programme was to commence with a demonstration drone flight but due to the very inclement weather this was postponed in the hope that the rain would cease at some point during the morning. The Reverend Sarah Groves welcomed everyone to Gracehill and then Jennifer Stutt, Chair of UHCT, opened the proceedings. She thanked the speakers Michael Murray (NCT); Chris McCollum (Chris McCollum Building Conservation); Jason (Drone View NI); Caroline Maguire (Heritage Advice and Regulation, Department for Communites); and Nigel Mills (NCT) for participating in the seminar and went on to explain the programme for the morning. The afternoon session was hosted by Una Duffy (Development Manager, HLF). Michael Murray from NCT announced the partnership between UHCT and NCT and outlined how this partnership could benefit churches in Northern Ireland.

Jason displayed the drone which is used for surveying buildings. He explained how it operated and what regulations govern flight. Presentation of photographs and video helped visualise the survey for the audience who responded with numerous questions for both Jason and Chris.

Jennifer officially launched the UHCT Maintenance Scheme Pilot. The aim of the project is to show how beneficial the information gathered from a drone flight could be in assessing maintenance problems and how it could add significantly to the information gathered from a traditional ground based survey. The pilot study of eight churches, two from each denomination plus the host church, Gracehill, would be undertaken this year, thanks to a grant of £10,000 funded by NCT. Representatives of the selected churches were among those in attendance.

The scheme will involve a drone survey of each church at no cost to the church. This will be followed by a report, which will include stills from the survey. There will be one of three outcomes:

1. No works required

2. Minor works required eg, slipped slates to be replaced, gutters unblocked etc. For this category a grant of up to £500 (including VAT) will be offered to rectify the problem indicated by the survey.

3. The final category will indicate that more major work is required. For churches, which fall into this category, a more detailed report will be provided and advice as to where to apply for funding will be given.

The UHCT is particularly pleased to be working with Chris McCollum on this. Chris is the Diocesan Surveyor for the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Down and Connor and Dromore and for UHCT, will be overseeing the project and completing the evaluation at the end of the pilot scheme.

Chris gave a very illuminating talk on how drones could be used to access areas not normally accessible above roof level, providing unlimited images from various angles and all at a significant cost saving compared to the hire of a crane.

Caroline Maguire used her talk to emphasise the importance of regular maintenance pointing out pertinent elements, materials and details which should be inspected regularly and what problems to look for in each case.

One of the main reasons for the seminar was the subject of the next speaker. Nigel Mills from NCT used the opportunity to launch the Partnership Grants Scheme in Northern Ireland. For this particular grant, NCT is working in partnership with UHCT and the aim is to provide grants towards smaller urgent repair projects costing under £100,000. Grants are generally in the region of between £2,500 and £10,000. More information on this grant and the other NCT grants can be found on the their website (  Nigel went on to explain how this latest grant complimented the other grants available.    These include:

$1·         Repair Grants

   These are awards of between £5,000 and £40,000 towards the cost of urgent and essential structural repair projects. Projects must have an estimated cost of    at least £100,000.

$1·         Community Grants

   Awards of £5,000 to £20,000 for projects which introduce facilities to enable increased community use for places of worship. Projects must have an                estimated cost of at least £25,000 to qualify.

$1·         Project Development Grants

    Awards of between £3,000 and £10,000 to support churches developing schemes of repair or maintenance. 

$1·         Maintenance Grants

   This programme was launched late 2016 to offer proactive repair grants to encourage listed churches to act on small urgent repairs detailed in their                  quinquennial inspection reports.

At this point the weather had significantly improved and Jason was able to demonstrate the drone in action. Everyone took their places on the other side of the road and watched Jason manoeuvre the drone over the roof of the church.

The afternoon session was hosted by HLF. Una Duffy presented an overview of the grants presently available to listed churches including the Grants for Places of Worship which was to close later this year. She encouraged churches to look at the other grants on offer - Our Heritage and Heritage Grants - which were intended to simplify the approach for applicants, provide more flexible access to funding, give quicker decisions for smaller projects whilst streamlining the portfolio of programmes.  She went on to give clear guidance on how to produce a good application and advised interested churches to submit a project enquiry form and get advice on their project idea before applying. She also explained what HLF were looking for in an application and how they undertook their assessments. Una and her colleague, Jimmy Laverty, were on hand to answer any questions  following the close of the proceedings.

This was an extremely interesting event which launched an important and innovative pilot scheme for churches in Northern Ireland, provided valuable information on grants available for churches, re-emphasised the need for regular maintenance and how a good comprehensive survey could ensure that problems were dealt with before they became a major and expensive issue.

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