Taylor Review Pilot

Image of the exterior of the Unitarian Chapel, Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, showing the distinctive oval window above the main door.
Unitarian Chapel, Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds © Historic England

Summary of the pilot

The pilot will run from September 2018 to March 2020 in Suffolk and Greater Manchester. It has five key strands:

  • Support and advice from a Community Development Advisor
  • Support and advice from a Fabric Support Officer
  • 16 workshops (eight in each region) focusing on four different topics; maintenance, community engagement, advanced business skills, and advanced community consultation
  • A Minor Repairs Fund for minor repairs or maintenance works
  • Evaluation of the success of the pilot as a possible solution to some of the issues identified in The Taylor Review

The pilot is open to all faith groups who manage listed places of worship and meet the eligibility criteria. The Fabric Support Officers will provide advice and guidance about maintenance and repair of historic fabric. They will also work with those applying for a minor repairs fund grant. The Community Development Advisers will help to increase engagement beyond the worshipping community in both an urban and rural context.

The workshops will promote best practice in the maintenance of historic buildings and the value of developing strong links with the local community.

The minor repairs fund aims to address the physical deterioration of historic fabric by encouraging a ‘stitch in time’ approach to undertaking maintenance tasks or commissioning minor repairs. 

The pilot will also be testing the resources allocated for this 18 month period.

Unfortunately there will not be capacity for the team to support every listed place of worship in Suffolk and Greater Manchester. Places of worship must meet some eligibility criteria to qualify for support. The Pilot Team will prioritise the eligible places of worship based on need and the overarching aims of the project.

For more information about prioritisation contact us at [email protected].

Some frequently asked questions about the pilot

What does a Community Development Advisor do?

The Community Development Advisors (CDAs) help the people responsible for listed places of worship to:

  • Develop new relationships in the wider community
  • Identify opportunities for use of the building and other activities
  • Seek income streams for the future to underpin repair and maintenance

There is one CDA based in Suffolk and one in Greater Manchester.

What does a Fabric Support Officer do?

The Fabric Support Officers (FSOs) work with the people responsible for listed places of worship, offering them practical advice and strategic planning of maintenance and repair. There is one FSO based in Suffolk and one in Greater Manchester. The FSOs give advice about the overall maintenance of places of worship and can recommend grant funding if appropriate.

What is the purpose of the workshops?

The workshops are managed by Historic England and run by the Churches Conservation Trust. They have three main functions:

  • To increase skills and confidence so that those with responsibility for places of worship feel able to undertake regular maintenance
  • To encourage faith groups to engage with the wider community to build mutually beneficial partnerships
  • To highlight potential sources of funding to support both activities

To ensure the workshops have maximum impact and reach, only one representative from each place of worship can attend each workshop. Attendance at one workshop does not preclude attendance at a future workshop on a different topic.

Attendees will be given a set of notes from these sessions. We will be encouraging those who attend to share their knowledge with other places of worship and interested parties.

Why do I need to know about the evaluation?

Frontier Economics (managed by DCMS) will carry out the evaluation. Central to the Taylor Review Pilot, the evaluation will determine the success of the pilot model. Government will use it to determine the best solution to some of the major issues highlighted in the 2017 Taylor Review.

It will be important that all places of worship involved in the pilot provide feedback for the evaluation. The evaluators will also choose a number of places of worship for in-depth case studies. They will ask the people responsible for these places to take part in a 45 minute interview.

What do I need to know about the Minor Repairs Fund?

Listed places of worship can apply for grant funding towards small maintenance or minor repairs projects.

Maintenance is the act of carrying out planned work on a regular basis to keep a building from deteriorating or to preserve an existing condition/situation. The objective of the maintenance task is to protect historic features and extend the life of a building by keeping it stable and weathertight. It contributes to its general upkeep using current good practice.

A minor repair is a small scale intervention to restore something damaged, faulty or worn. Conservation repairs, rather than wholesale replacement, should be as limited as possible in scope but achieve conservation objectives. Repair work should prevent the loss of or damage to important architectural features.

Historic England normally expects works to be carried out using traditional methods and materials. These should be appropriate to the history and condition of the building and normally on a like for like basis.

These grants are intended for minor works only. They’re not offered to help fund larger projects. The Fabric Support Officer in your region can advise as to whether your project falls into this category.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for a maximum of 90% grant funds towards projects under £12,000 in value (including VAT). Places of worship with projects under £10,000 are also encouraged to apply as there is no minimum for these grants.

Which places of worship are eligible to take part in the pilot?

To have any involvement in the Tailor Review Pilot your place of worship would have to be:

  • Located in Greater Manchester or Suffolk
  • An active place of worship that is open for public worship at least six times a year
  • Listed on the National Heritage List for England (any grade)
  • Open (or willing to open) for some form of public access in addition to regular worship times (special considerations may apply for buildings with security issues or where there are clear health and safety concerns)

Workshops and Fabric Support Officers

To be eligible to attend a workshop or get help from the Fabric Support Officers, places of worship must meet the above criteria and:

  • Have vulnerable historic fabric. For example, if the place of worship has been identified in the most recent Quinquennial Inspection (or equivalent) as being vulnerable to imminent deterioration of fabric. Or if it were on the Heritage at Risk Register, or if it were eligible for inclusion on the register

Minor Repairs Grant

In addition to the pilot eligibility criteria, places of worship must meet the following requirements to qualify for grant funding:

  • Have vulnerable historic fabric. For example, a place of worship that has been identified in the most recent Quinquennial Inspection (or equivalent) as being vulnerable to imminent deterioration of fabric. Or it could be a place of worship that's on the Heritage at Risk Register, or is eligible for inclusion on the register
  • Ability to supply approximately 10% match funding for these grants (which may include professional fees if appropriate)
  • Willing to source three competitive quotes from contractors for the minor repairs or maintenance works
  • Must not be the recipient of another grant within the Taylor Review Pilot Scheme
Image of the exterior of the Church of St Luke in Weaste, Salford.
St Luke's, Weaste, Salford © Historic England

Find more information

If you’re eligible for one element of the pilot and would like more information please send an email enquiry to [email protected].

If you’re not eligible for the pilot but would like to sign up to a mailing list for general updates please email [email protected] and include ‘Request for information on the Taylor Pilot’ in the subject line. You can cancel at any time by emailing with ‘Unsubscribe from Taylor Pilot emails’ in the subject line.

English Cathedrals and Churches Sustainability and Funding Review

We welcome the publication of The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals and look forward to working closely with the Government on this important agenda. We support the recommendation of a pilot phase to explore the benefits of carefully targeted resources and look forward to working with DCMS to develop this further.

We're glad that the review recognises the extraordinary efforts of local congregations to keep their buildings repaired and open. This vital service to the wider community and willingness to share the church has kept these buildings alive for generations and will underpin their future.

You can download the full review and read the DCMS press release on the GOV.UK website.

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