The Churches Conservation Trust wins an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award

14 Apr 2015

The Churches Conservation Trust, the national charity saving historic churches at risk, has been recognised by the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, it has been announced today. 

First established in 1969, The Churches Conservation Trust charity took over care of St Peter's Church in Edlington, South Yorkshire in May 1971, and since then it has saved a collection of 347 listed church buildings, which attract almost two million visitors a year. Last year, the charity unveiled its most ambitious project yet, the £4.3m regeneration of All Souls Bolton, creating a 21st century community facility within a Grade II* listed Victorian church.

Considered Europe’s most prestigious prize in the heritage field, the 2015 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards recognises 28 winners across 29 countries, including five winners in the UK. The other UK winners are Stonehenge in Wiltshire, Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, The North of England Civic Trust’s Heritage Skills Initiative and York’s Young Archaeologists’ Club.

The award to the Churches Conservation Trust is in the category of Dedicated Service by Individuals or Organisations, and recognises contributions over a long period of time that demonstrate excellence in the protection, conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage in Europe, far exceeding normal expectations in the given context.  At an awards ceremony in Oslo in June seven winners will be named as Grand Prix laureates, receiving €10,000 each, and one will receive a Public Choice Award, chosen by online poll. 

Crispin Truman, Chief Executive of The Churches Conservation Trust said: “The Churches Conservation Trust has been working for more than forty five years to save churches at risk across England. The past year has been one of the most important in our history, and I am delighted that Europa Nostra has recognised our work.

“Our expert team is setting the agenda in protecting our religious and architectural heritage, responding to funding challenges by not only finding new ways to support the conservation of our unique church buildings, but also via innovative new projects such as our flagship community building at All Souls Bolton. I look forward to the awards ceremony in June and hope we can continue to build on our success.”

A spokesperson for Europa Nostra said: “The Jury admired particularly the Churches Conservation Trust’s early recognition of the importance of safeguarding the religious and architectural significance of historic places of worship and their essential function as centres of community life…The Jury also appreciated the highly significant role the Trust has played in the foundation of the Future of Religious Heritage Network, where its proven model of sustainability will be pivotal for the preservation across Europe of religious heritage buildings and their interiors.”