FAQs

Here are a few answers to some of the questions we are asked. If you can't find what you're looking for here, or on the rest of the site, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Here are a few answers to some of the questions we are asked. If you can't find what you're looking for here, or on the rest of the site, then please do not hesitate to contact us

  • What is the Churches Conservation Trust?

    We are the national charity protecting historic churches at risk.  We’ve saved 350 beautiful buildings which attract almost 2 million visitors a year. With our help and with your support they are kept open and in use - living once again at the heart of their communities.

  • When and why were you set up?

    We were set up in 1969 to care for Church of England churches no longer needed for parish use. All our churches are architecturally or historically important with most are Grade I or Grade II*. The churches in our care represent 1,000 years of history, craftsmanship, human aspiration, triumph and tragedy.

  • Why do churches come under our care?

    Churches come to us for a variety of reasons but principally because they are no longer needed for regular worship.

    There are a number of reasons for this:

    • demographic changes - many of our Medieval churches are in counties that were affluent in the Middle Ages and no longer have communities around them;
    • our town and inner city churches have sometimes lost their congregations as population centres have declined or moved elsewhere;
    • sometimes there are several churches in a parish which cannot all be maintained by a small community.

    Our Regeneration team works with communities where there is a possibility that a church may be under threat, to look at new community uses and opportunities,

    If you need further information about the legal process by which a parish church is closed, or comes into our care, see our FAQ on 'How a church comes into our care' or contact the Church Commissioners at the Church of England.

  • Can I get married in a CCT church?

    Yes, as long as certain conditions are met. For information on the requirements and to enquire about hiring a CCT church for your wedding, please contact us.

  • Can churches be used for events?

    We hold a wide range of events in our churches. Apart from services, they host art exhibitions, concerts, performances and other community events. You can view extensive information on hiring our churches here.

    If you would like to hold an event in a particular church, then please contact us.

  • Do you give grants for repairs to churches?

    We are not a grant-giving charity and much of our time is spent raising funds for work we need to commission for our churches. The Church of England have a website called Churchcare at www.churchcare.co.uk. This gives information on fundraising and grant sources.

  • Do you keep the records that were in your churches?

    When a church is vested to us, the records are deposited in the relevant county or diocesan record office. If you need to view these as part of family history research, the you should contact the diocese and you can find their details on the Church of England website.

  • How can I help support the CCT?

    • By visiting our churches, signing the Visitors Book when you do and telling your friends about the experience.
    • Attending services and events.
    • Make a donation - either in one of our collection boxes at churches or by sending this directly to us.
    • Become a member
    • Volunteer - our churches thrive because of the people who keep them open, help run events or clean for us.

  • What should I do if I have a complaint?

    CCT is committed to ensuring our churches are accessible and welcoming for all and that we provide the highest quality service to our visitors and users of our churches, members, donors, volunteers and partner organisations. If you are unhappy about the services that we provide we want to hear about it. Please see the following attachment for more information.

    Complaints Policy Procedure

     

  • How does a church come under your care?

    How a church joins our collection (aka the Vesting Process)

    The closure of a parish church, decision on its future use and consideration of vesting in CCT are dictated by church legislation and can only be made by the Church Commissioners, one of our sponsor bodies.

    Usually closure of a parish church takes 3-4 months and involves both national and local consultation. Part of the national consultation is with the Church Buildings Council about the historic interest and architectural value of the building and its contents. In many cases, the CBC will determine that vesting in the CCT should be a last resort if no alternative use can be found. In exceptions, the church is of such high significance that an alternative use cannot be envisioned – e.g. as at All Saints, Kedleston - so closure and vesting are dealt with in the same legislation.

    Once closed as a parish church, ownership of the church transfers to the Diocese who become responsible for its care and maintenance and make efforts to find a new use. In most cases a new use is found; where not, we asked to provide a cost estimate for taking the church on, including the cost of repairing the building, conserving the contents and ongoing maintenance. With this information the Church Commissioners decide whether to vest or to demolish. Once the decision to vest is taken, the Commissioners consult on a vesting scheme (legal document to transfer to CCT), consider any objections and enforce the scheme if they decide to proceed. 

    Our directors meet regularly with the Church Commissioners and our trustees take a keen interest in how potential churches would add to our collection and the associated costs, which are covered by the Church Commissioners’ ring-fenced budget. This allows for a maximum of two to three churches to join our collection each year.

    Sarah Robinson, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Conservation