Iconic churches under threat

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 October 2010 | UPDATED: 10:24 28 October 2010

Views, of and from, Uphill Church on the Hill.

Views, of and from, Uphill Church on the Hill.

Archant

TWO of North Somerset's oldest churches could be under threat after the Government axed funding to the conservation charity which looks after them.

Neither the Church of the Holy Saviour, at Puxton, or St Nicholas Church on the Hill in Uphill are currently used for worship but both are preserved by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT).

After Chancellor George Osborne slashed Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funding to the charity by 20 per cent, the trust has urged community members to unite behind their iconic places of worship.

The CCT received £3.1million from the DCMS before the spending review, but that will drop to £2.926million next year, £2.828million in 2012-13, £2.743million the following year and £2.695million in 2014-15.

The current grant also contains £1.4million of match-funding from the Church Commissioners, and it is unclear whether this would also be reduced.

CCT’s regional manager for the South West, Richard Tullock, said: “I think it’s increasing the challenge we have been facing.

“Obviously we know there would be cuts all around the public sector, and as a charity we need public sector funding, and now it’s really about how we go about our business and what we do to raise money.

“We’ll have to do a lot more fund-raising events and urge for more donations now. We will have to look to the local community to be even more helpful.

“Quite a few of our churches have ‘church friend groups’, but neither the Holy Saviour or St Nicholas do, and residents forming these groups to look after the churches would help to keep them in good condition.”

The churches are two of the oldest buildings in the area, with St Nicholas dating back to the years following the Norman conquest and the Holy Saviour estimated to have been originally built in the early Middle Ages.

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