Taylor Review Pilot Update January 2019

Pilot Team

The members of the Taylor Review Pilot Team have been working over the last few months to establish the pilot, communicate with places of worship and try to provide the type of support that is required. The team consists of:

  • Karen Heverin, Fabric Support Officer, Greater Manchester
  • Laura Emmins, Community Development Adviser, Suffolk
  • Lucy More, Project Manager
  • Rachel Lake, Community Development Adviser, Greater Manchester
  • Thomas Küpper, Fabric Support Officer, Suffolk

We’re currently aware of 332 listed places of worship in Greater Manchester and 533 in Suffolk, and therefore we know that the Pilot Team will not be able to work with every one of these places during the pilot. The Fabric Support Officers (FSOs) and Community Development Advisers (CDAs) have already spoken to the people caring for over 190 listed places of worship, and have visited over 75 of these. The team are tasked to reach the places of worship that are most vulnerable, and have been working with eligible places of worship that fit into one of the following categories in the first instance:

  • Places of worship which been identified by Historic England staff or a faith group representative as being particularly vulnerable
  • Places of worship listed on the Heritage at Risk Register as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘at risk’
  • Places of worship cared for by people who have made direct contact with the team and requested support in a specific area

The Community Development Advisers have both been working hard in each region to provide tailored support and advice.

More about the work of our Community Development Adviser Laura Emmins below:

Meet Laura 

Our two Fabric Support Officers have been working with places of worship applying for the Minor Repairs Grant. 16 grant applications have already been approved, with another 26 submissions expected in the next few weeks and many more places of worship potentially ready to begin the application process in the next month.

Our next newsletter will feature the work of Fabric Support Officers.


The Churches Conservation Trust – our partner – is delivering a series of workshops as part of the pilot, the first of which was delivered in both regions on 10 December 2018. Future workshops will be held on the following dates:

  • A Stitch in Time: Why maintenance and small repairs really matter: Monday 3 June 2019, Saturday 23 November 2019
  • Places of Worship and the Wider Community: How to consult and build strong local partnerships: Monday 11 February 2019, Saturday 14 September 2019, Monday 27 January 2020
  • Planning and managing a project: Skills and talents you need to deliver a successful project: Monday 29 July 2019
  • Fundraising and business planning: Developing a case for future investment: Saturday 19 October 2019

If you care for an eligible place of worship and would like to attend the workshop on 11 February please click here for Suffolk and here for Greater Manchester.

Suffolk: Places of Worship and the Wider Community, 11 February

Greater Manchester: Places of Worship and the Wider Community, 11 February

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.

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The independent pilot evaluators from Frontier Economics have already conducted an initial round of fieldwork in each of the two regions, with a number of stakeholders agreeing to be interviewed as part of this fieldwork. Frontier Economics have developed their methodology and will analyse data collected by the Pilot Team over the next 15 months, complimenting this with additional fieldwork interviews at set stages throughout the pilot.

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. It really is vital that we have feedback, critical and positive, so we can learn about what works and what doesn’t, and plan future improvements.

Meet Laura Emmins

Laura Emmins, Community Development Adviser in Suffolk, has been working with churches in Suffolk for eight years, most recently as Volunteering Officer for the Churches Conservation Trust. Hear what Laura has to say about her first few months on the Taylor Review Pilot below.

“Over the initial months of the project, I have visited over 30 places of worship and have contacted people caring for many more to discuss their current situation and relationship with their surrounding communities.  You can’t deny the high level of enthusiasm people have for their place of worship: it is wonderful to hear what ideas are out there, help encourage wider community use, and advise how the challenges people face can be approached. Equally, there are people who don’t know where to turn – they know something needs to be done to improve the situation of their place of worship, but aren’t sure where to start.

I have spoken with new churchwardens, established groups of trustees, history group members who support a church, and many more! There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the advice given, nor should there be. Although each of the 500 plus listed places of worship in Suffolk is unique, it may share certain circumstances or characteristics with others.

Advice I give very much depends on the current situation, capacity, timescale and need of individual places and people. It is about reflecting on what you have got, what you would like to see, but also what the wider community around you may like to see happening – and vitally, how you can find this out!

I have had conversations around key audits and hire agreements, given advice on potential partnerships in the local area, helped people recognise that they already have informal partnerships (even though to them it may just be ‘business as usual’), and proposed ways of building upon these existing relationships to help support grant applications.

Other regular themes are tourism, online presence, interpretation and presentation of buildings – people want to encourage others to see the beautiful place of worship they care for. Advice on grant applications, how to find what grants are available, and also sharing what has happened elsewhere are all thrown into the mix.

Community development isn’t clean cut – it is wide, diverse and flexible in its approach, although there are common tools that can be used to help focus thinking and planning.

Conversations I have always take into account the nature of the buildings themselves and their on-going regular maintenance and conservation needs. Most people attempt to strike the balance between the three elements: demands of their listed historic building, their own faith and also the needs of the wider community – to make the buildings relevant to those beyond the worshipping communities. I assist them in this process to help make places of worship sustainable, relevant, and of interest on multiple levels.”