Man in cherry picker examining church tower
Work on the tower at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wortham © Historic England
Work on the tower at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wortham © Historic England

Taylor Review Pilot Update October 2020

Round up

This pilot was established to assess some of the recommendations laid out in the 2017 Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals, back in September 2018.

Both the Pilot and the Team have come a long way since then, packing a lot into that time. Over 19 months the pilot team engaged with 396 listed places of worship and had the pleasure of meeting the people who look after these unique and treasured heritage buildings.
The team assisted in developing new partnerships and in building on old ones, identified opportunities for community use and activities, and committed a total grant spend of over £1million towards maintenance and minor repairs.

They carried out around 180 site visits to different buildings, worked with representatives from over 12 different faith groups and denominations, and over 200 places of worship received Community Development support to help them refresh and strengthen their relationships with the community beyond their congregations.

Pilot partners, The Churches Conservation Trust, delivered 16 workshops across the two pilot areas, welcoming and engaging an even wider range of participants who learnt from one another as well as the team. A version of the workshop material is now available on the Taylor Review Pilot webpage for anyone to download and use.

Evaluation Report

The Evaluation Report of the Taylor Review Pilot has been published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and can be accessed online.

Read the Evaluation Report

It sets out evidence from the scheme which ran from September 2018 until March 2020, and identifies some valuable lessons.

Frontier Economics (independent consultants appointed by DCMS) used data provided by the pilot team, partners and feedback from participants to compile the report. We would like to thank all involved for their valuable insights and suggestions.

Advice and useful templates

The Taylor Review Pilot team put together some advisory documents and templates based on what they learnt from working closely with people looking after listed places of worship.

These can be accessed here and offer advice on maintenance, fundraising, promoting places of worship and organising teams.

The Fabric Support Officers have further developed the Maintenance Checklist they trialed and tested during the pilot, this updated version is now endorsed by the National Churches Trust, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Baptist Union, the Church of England, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales, and the Methodist Church.

These new documents complement the Churches Conservation Trust’s workshop material developed and delivered as part of the Taylor Review Pilot.

Workshop material

The workshop slides and handout resources have been made available online.

Originally delivered by the Churches Conservation Trust in a series of workshops, these materials can now be viewed as reminder material for those who attended or as a starting point for those unable to attend who’d like to find out a bit more about the topics they covered.

Pilot team

When the pilot drew to a close on the 31 March 2020 the team met virtually, in the form of a teleconference, from their individual homes across the country, to raise a glass. They wanted to mark the occasion and celebrate the time they’d had working on the project. It was a great chance to discuss the lessons learned and remember all the wonderful people and partners they met in the course of their work on the pilot.

The team members remain at Historic England for now, working on the Covid-19 Emergency HAR Response Fund and the High Street Heritage Action Zones project.

The team would like to thank, on behalf of Historic England, all those who contributed to the Taylor Review Pilot. There have been so many welcoming people at such a variety of unique and inspiring places of worship, whose valuable ideas and feedback enabled us to conclude the pilot with a wealth of insight.

Staff at Historic England welcome the Taylor Review Pilot Evaluation Report and are looking forward to seeing what comes next.