It is now easier for churches and chapels in the Diocese of Gloucester to carry out expert conservation and repair work to stonework, masonry and mortaring and roofs and towers, thanks to an expansion of MaintenanceBooker, www.maintenancebooker.org.uk the heritage website that helps keep church buildings safe for the future.
Michael Murray, Executive Director of NCT Heritage Services Ltd said:
“Since 2018, churches and chapels have been using MaintenanceBooker to find qualified contractors to carry out gutter clearances and repairs, lightning protection inspections and repairs, tree surveys and maintenance and asbestos surveys and removals.”
“We’ve launched the new services for stonework, masonry and mortaring and roofs and towers as a direct response to the needs of churches identified in grant applications made to the National Churches Trust. In 2017 – 2018, over 55% of applications for maintenance grants were for high level repairs to roofs and towers and 28% for stone or mortar repairs to walls.”
“We want to make keeping church buildings in good repair as easy as possible for churchwardens. MaintenanceBooker is a simple to use online service. It uses only accredited contractors and helps churches obtain multiple quotes for each job. This makes it easy for churches to get the right price for expert repair and conservation work, and to obtain funding for the works.”
For many churches in the Gloucester Diocese, the cost of maintenance can be a major barrier to keeping their building in good repair, so users of MaintenanceBooker can obtain Preventative Maintenance Micro-Grants to fund a maximum of 50% of project costs up to a maximum £500 grant.
For larger repair projects, such as slipped tiles, crumbling stone walls or replacing concrete mortar, churches can also apply to the National Churches Trust for Foundation Grants for Maintenance of up to £3,000.
Keeping churches and chapels open and enjoyed
“Maintaining your church building is the bedrock of keeping it open and able to be enjoyed,” says Becky Clark, Director of Churches and Cathedrals, Church of England. “Simple tasks like keeping gutters and drains clear, identifying problems with trees and properly maintaining them and ensuring stonework is well looked after will help prevent unexpected large repair bills, and can encourage local people, whether churchgoers or not, to take an interest in their church. I believe that MaintenanceBooker will make it easier to keep church buildings in good repair.”
The new services on MaintenanceBooker are being made possible with the support of Ecclesiastical Insurance, the UK’s leading church insurer, the National Churches Trust, the Pilgrim Trust and the Church in Wales.
Michael Angell, church operations director for Ecclesiastical Insurance said:
“We are very pleased to be able to sponsor this service, which will help make sure that those maintaining some of our most irreplaceable buildings have access to the right experience and skills to do so. Proactively addressing small repairs and maintenance will help ensure that churches don’t face more serious repair problems and in some cases, closures.“
MaintenanceBooker has been developed by the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church building support charity, and is operated by NCT Heritage Services Limited and 2buy2, the national buying group for UK, charities, schools and churches.
Rob Kissick, 2buy2’s Chief Executive Officer said:
“Every company registered on MaintenanceBooker is vetted to ensure it has the appropriate qualifications; critical for all church repairs. The website also helps churches keep track of works undertaken. Our contractors complete detailed reports that stay on the MaintenanceBooker system, allowing churchwardens and building managers to easily find out what has been done to keep their churches open and secure.”