Bolton Methodist Mission
Bolton Methodist Mission © Historic England
Bolton Methodist Mission © Historic England

Taylor Review Pilot Update April 2019

Pilot Team

The members of the Taylor Review Pilot Team have made good progress in both regions since our update in January. In total, the Team has been in contact with over 300 places of worship.

The Community Development Advisers have been working hard and have engaged with over 150 places of worship to offer varying levels of tailored support. Community Development Advisers adapt their support depending on the need of the individual place of worship. For a small subset of this group this may mean offering support to those working towards large grant funding applications, whilst for many it is helping set them on a journey towards wider community involvement or moving them on to the next stage towards a new venture or clearer vision.

Community Development Advisers have been helping places of worship:

  • with the tools to identify the needs of their local community and how they can potentially meet those needs
  • to recognise what they have and the potential impact of a holistic approach to community engagement, and the benefits it may bring
  • with advice on capacity management/capacity building
  • to understand the need to communicate the value of these buildings to local people and wider communities, beyond their value for worship, historic/ architectural/ heritage value, and provide advice on how to do this

Our two Fabric Support Officers have been working with places of worship to plan regular maintenance, and also to support those people applying for the Minor Repairs Grant. In the first six months of the pilot, 96 places of worship received a site visit from a Fabric Support Officer which has led to a potential grant application. Between September 2018 and March 2019, 52 grant applications were approved for a total £398,511 of grant funding.

Read more about the role of a Fabric Support Officer


The Churches Conservation Trust – our partner – is delivering a series of workshops as part of the pilot and has already successfully delivered four workshops (two in each region):

  • 10 December: A Stitch in Time: Why maintenance and small repairs really matter
  • 11 February: Places of Worship and the Wider Community: How to consult and build strong local partnerships

The Churches Conservation Trust and the Taylor Pilot Team have reviewed feedback from these workshops and adapted the content of future workshops in response to this feedback.

Registration is now open for the next Stitch in Time workshop which will be held on Monday 3 June at the following locations:

The remaining workshops comprise:

  • A Stitch in Time: Why maintenance and small repairs really matter: Saturday 23 November 2019
  • Places of Worship and the Wider Community: How to consult and build strong local partnerships: Saturday 14 September 2019, Monday 27 January 2020
  • *Planning and managing change Part 1: turning your vision into a plan of action: Monday 29 July 2019
  • *Planning and managing change Part 2: building capacity and support to deliver change: Saturday 19 October 2019

Keep an eye on the Taylor Review Pilot Eventbrite page for when bookings for the remaining workshops open from 1 May 2019.

*Please note that these workshops were previously advertised as Planning and managing a project: Skills and talents you need to deliver a successful project and Fundraising and business planning: Developing a case for future investment. These workshops have been altered in response to an evaluation of needs and feedback following previous workshops.

If you would like to attend a future workshop, please email [email protected] and ask to be added to the workshop mailing list. Please note that by requesting this you are confirming that you have read and accept our Terms and Conditions.

We respect your privacy and the use of your information. Please read our full privacy policy for more information.


The independent pilot evaluators from Frontier Economics have just completed their second round of fieldwork for the evaluation, and a number of stakeholders agreed to be interviewed as part of this fieldwork. Frontier Economics will be presenting their initial findings to DCMS and the Pilot Stakeholders in May, and we look forward to sharing some of this early learning with you.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank those that have already been involved in the fieldwork interviews and hope that many more of you will be involved in future sessions. We highly value all feedback, critical and positive, so we can learn about what works and what doesn’t, and plan future improvements.

Meet Karen Heverin

The first six months in my role as the Fabric Support Officer for the Greater Manchester area has been both challenging and enjoyable. As a building surveyor and former Conservation Officer, I have relished the opportunity to meet those who manage a wealth of ecclesiastical buildings, from Medieval to the 20th century modernist designs. It has been very rewarding to offer guidance, supported by a small grant scheme, to encourage the congregations to focus on the on-going maintenance of their place of worship. This is an area I am desperate to promote after working on many buildings which have suffered from a lack of maintenance resulting in anything from a tree growing out of a roof to a devastating outbreak of dry rot.

In many cases, I have asked on my first visit if a place of worship has a maintenance plan and been advised that it does not. However, it soon becomes apparent that, whilst there isn’t a formal written plan, works are constantly being undertaken to ‘keep an eye’ on the building and many have a roofer or handy man they can call to ensure that the odd slipped slate does not turn into a bigger problem. The formalising of this proactive approach to maintenance has resulted in the start of the maintenance plans for a number of buildings. This important part of the pilot, has brought a sense of control to the congregation, removed the concern that valuable knowledge will be lost if someone leaves, and allowed me to encourage people to apply for grant funding – usually closely followed by the best part of my job – telling people they have been awarded a grant from the Minor Repairs Grant fund!

I have visited many places of worship where the initial focus has been on large scale repair works or reordering and it has been an invaluable part of my role to listen to these needs. However, I have then described the recommendations of the Taylor Review and promoted an understanding of the need for the small scale ‘stitch in time’ maintenance works. In one instance a church was in receipt of a large scale grant to address dry rot issues, yet leaking gutters in another part of the building were going unattended and causing a similar environment to allow the rot to flourish. The church were aware of the issue, but they did not have the funds to address this and the small scale grant provided an ideal opportunity to repair these gutters and no doubt prevent further damage and loss. It is now the intention to put a maintenance plan in place and look at alternatively sources of funding to provide the church with a way forward if similar problems arise again.

The pilot has allowed me to work with Church Wardens to analyse their Quinquennial Report and work within the architect’s recommendations to prioritise the urgent maintenance works. This time spent with Wardens has allowed some to develop their understanding of the building terms used and helped to remove fear associated with the large task before them. The pilot has also provided some churches with experience of applying for funding and an understanding of the process. All of which are important in developing a knowledge base for preparing larger bids.

It has been challenging finding the time to focus on the development of maintenance plans in the first six months of the pilot. This is the area that I intend to develop over the remainder of the pilot to ensure that Parishes feel empowered rather than daunted by the buildings of national interest which we have the privilege of working on. The volunteer time spent on the buildings and the strong feelings of pride and ownership have been overwhelming and I am enjoying the opportunity of helping those taking on this challenge to secure the future of these buildings.