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Historic churches get a pounds 600,000 lifeline; Vital repairs so that buildings will survive for future generations.


HISTORIC churches across Merseyside were yesterday awarded more than pounds 600,000 to help preserve them for future generations.

English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund announced grants totalling pounds 1.9m for 18 Grade II-listed religious buildings in the region.

Leading the way in Liverpool was Holy Trinity Church of England in Anfield which will receive pounds 182,000 for conservation work.

Peter Murray, the Church Army officer at Holy Trinity, said: 'The money will go towards repairing the church tower and steeple.

'It's probably the only Victorian one remaining in this part of the city. The church was built in 1847 so the tower is in quite a dangerous state now. The repairs don't come cheap and, of course, we don't get the full cost in grant, so there will be a lot of other fundraising events planned I'm sure.'

Also celebrating was St Cyprian's Church of England on Edge Lane which was awarded a heritage grant of pounds 130,000.

Like many places of worship, it's the leaky roof which has been the prime source of problems. Church curate Jane Warhurst said: 'This is very much needed. When it rains at the moment, we have a free water feature with water running down the inside pillars of the church.

'The roof needs radical repairs and this will be the first step towards making the building watertight.

'It was built in the 1840s and is well loved by the community around here - it's very important to them.'

In Southport, Leyland Road Methodist Church will receive pounds 70,000 for its steeple.

Pauline Basterfield, preacher at the nearby Marshside Road Methodist church, said: 'It's an old Wesleyan Methodist Church and the money is for their steeple which is listed so there is no choice but to get it repaired. There are 1,200 Methodists in Southport and 11 Methodist churches. Leyland Road is one of the biggest. A lot of the building is currently being revamped. The official view of the Methodist church is that it's up to the individual churches as to whether they want to apply for lottery funding.' The other Merseyside churches to receive grants were Our Lady of Reconciliation in Kirkdale (pounds 134,000), St Monica's in Bootle (pounds 91,000) and St Thomas' in Melling (pounds 45,000).

This announcement - worth pounds 7m nationally - followed a pounds 17.5m handout in March for grade I and grade II* religious buildings under the same Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, launched in 2002.

Richard Halsey, head of Places of Worship at English Heritage, said: 'All these places of worship are greatly loved by their congregations who battle against the odds to preserve them.

'We want these grants to give them the boost needed to carry out vital repair work and so secure an active future for this remarkable collection of buildings.'

All listed places of worship in England are eligible to apply for a grant under the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme.

The programme supports urgent repairs to the fabric of listed places of worship and priority is given to single repair projects costing less than pounds 200,000.

There is a two-stage application process with development funding available after Stage 1 to help work up proposals.

Stephen Johnson, director of operations at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: 'Churches and places of worship are often the most prominent symbols of a community's heritage and have huge architectural and historical value.

'They also provide local communities with a natural focus at important occasions as well as in day-to-day life.

'This major investment will ensure that they will continue to be an integral part of their community's identity for years to come p Is your place of worship badly in need of repair?

Application deadlines for Repair Grants for Places of Worship in 2005/06 are: p June 30, 2005 - Grade I and II* listed places of worship p September 30, 2005 - Grade II listed places of worship A copy of the application pack is available from the Heritage Lottery Fund website or from the English Heritage website


Churchwarden June Rose of St Cyprian's Church of England on Edge Lane
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2005
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