Roof Grant Application
Having been unsuccessful with the South side application known as Phase 3, I was encouraged to apply to the Listed Places of Worship for a roofing grant to replace the lower North roof. You may remember this roof being patched only instead of being replaced due to a funding reduction during the North side restoration known as Phase 3.
I was informed about the grant in the middle of December, not an ideal time to start collecting data and form filling. However, the deadline for applications was Friday the 30th of January at midday, 2015 to allow the decision makers time to allocate funds to the successful bidders by the end of the fiscal tax year.
The first week in January I made a start. My greatest obstacle was to motivate myself to read the online form and enter the first piece of information. It is said that writing a novel has this stigma. I have completed two successful applications and one unsuccessful and there is no magic formula but I know there is an incredible amount of work involved. Every word in every sentence is scrutinized by a panel that are tasked with deciding whether our application is justified. The government has allocated the funds to the Listed places of Worship Roof Repair Fund and as always they are heavily oversubscribed.
There was a fair amount of financial information requested as usual. Liz, our treasurer supplied some information but unfortunately for me our former treasurer Tim was on extended leave and not due home until days before the application deadline. The team from previous applications, Rob Twiss our QS, Robin our architect and Ian Simpson, the diocesan buildings advisor were quickly involved at short notice.
We didn’t have much restoration funds to contribute as part of our submission so we had to indicate our preparation to offer a respectable amount to show our commitment to the total bill. The breakdown of the works involved was supplied by the quantity surveyor and included scaffolding, reroofing, downpipes, hoppers and gutters. The roof specification was new Welsh blue slates.
The application is limited to a certain number of words so they had to be chosen carefully. With one week to go to the deadline I emailed the application to Ian to review. A couple of suggestions were made and the application was amended.
The following items were requested and included. A letter of support from the archdeacon, a copy of our annual accounts, a copy of our quinquennial report and up to date photographs of the roof showing its poor condition. A brief meeting with Tim ensued on his return and the final pieces of the application were completed late on Thursday 29th. We were to be told our outcome by the end of March.
The Diocesan bulletin website announced joy for five Merseyside churches which had been allocated roofing grants. We were not one of them. I was hoping we would have been awarded a smaller amount than the five successful churches and waited for notification. On 28th March, I received a letter confirming our bid had been unsuccessful.
It stated that the programme had been heavily over-subscribed and they were unable to support all the good quality bids which were submitted. Given the high number of applications, they regretted that they were unable to supply feedback on individual bids. However a second round of the LPOW Roof Repair Fund was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his budget speech on the 18th March 2015. This pot is for £40 million and we were advised to monitor the website should we wish to pursue this for our church.
I received a further letter on the 31st March 2015 from the Church Buildings Council under the name “Church Care”. It stated that 372 Church of England parish churches had been awarded grants out of 502 Listed Places of Worship. We were encouraged to reapply in the autumn with the help and advice of “Church Care”. So all is not yet lost and we must remain positive. I feel confident that we will be more successful next time and I am determined to continue applying on your behalf. I may have a little more time on my hands after the APCM.
Stephen Green, Churchwarden of St. Nicholas’ Blundellsands – April 2015