Inspired Futures project set up by Church of England Dioceses of Newcastle and Durham

02 May 2023

Inspired Futures demonstrated new models for working with historic places of worship and getting resources to where they are needed. The Diocese were supported with Development funding from NLHF to work with eighteen churches across the Northeast, all of which elected to take part and were open to exploring new possibilities. CCT held several workshops across the Diocese with the aim of opening discussion and enabling more diverse use of these church buildings alongside their traditional worship role leading to more stable and sustainable futures, with more users contributing towards upkeep, maintenance and running costs.

Audits of accessibility, conservation repair and improvement needs and volunteer involvement were carried out, the potential for new community uses, improved heritage access and interpretation were explored, and new heritage activities were piloted. The end result was an Outline viability reports provided for all 18 churches.

The church buildings covered by this project (listed below) have been a focal point for their local communities for generations – some for over 800 years.

A follow-on commission focussed support to 6 churches; consultation activity, options development, outline business planning, fundraising strategy, preparation of fundraising bids, skills audit, governance review. CCT delivered workshops on consultation, options exploration, fundraising, business planning, construction management open to any church within the Diocese

The Diocese were able to secure further NLHF investment for an evolved project focussing on rural church sustainability - Rural Churches Together (completed 2023)

This initiative focussed on 18 churches including: Haydon Bridge St Cuthbert's and Haydon Old Church (Newcastle x2 churches)

Christ Church Shieldfield (Newcastle)

Haymarket St Thomas (Newcastle)

Bensham St Chads (Durham)

Elsdon St Cuthberts (Durham)

Darlington St Cuthberts (Durham)

Darlington St Johns (Durham)

Billingham St Cuthberts (Durham)

Sedgefield St Edmunds (Durham)

Seaton Delaval Our Land (Newcastle)

Heighington St Michaels (Durham)

Stockton Parish Church (Durham)

Auckland St Andrews (Durham)

Alston St Augustine (Durham)

Doddington St Mary and St Michaels (Durham)

Alnham St Michael and All Angels (Durham)

Hartlepool St Oswalds (Durham)


Image Credit: Andy Marshall