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Researching Funding and Sustainability of Historic Faith Buildings

Our research aimed at helping to sustain historic places of worship for the future: for example by examining funding and management models, energy efficiency and maintenance.

What is sustainability in this context?

We usually think of ‘sustainability’ in terms of climate change or economic viability, meaning the ability to endure into the future. Many places of worship have already endured for a long time and they are often the places with the longest continuous use of any local building. How they are sustained for the future is a challenge for the communities that use them and care for them.

There are many different ways to consider sustainability. Some key issues are:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint
  • Effective use and management 
  • Most importantly  regular maintenance.

Together these help a community to continue to enjoy using their treasured heritage and hand it on to future generations.  Advice on climate change and reducing the carbon footprint for places of worship already exists.

A food market taking place in a church.
Food market in St Giles, Shipbourne, Kent © Martin Steward

Understanding the challenges for particular buildings

Understanding the challenges that face particular buildings is crucial to working out what appropriate support local communities need. Currently work on understanding the particular challenges facing major parish churches is underway.

Sustaining character

Small and large scale change can impact on the character of places of worship and their surroundings. Each place or locality has its own characteristics. Even something as simple as paving in an historic churchyard can impact on its appearance and inform us about its’ history.

We are supporting work to understand the history and survival of paved paths in Devon, along with an event in conjunction with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

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