Places of worship

Places of worship are among the UK’s oldest and most cherished historic buildings.

Thanks to National Lottery players, since 1995 we have invested more than £970million in places of worship across the UK.

Our funding has helped to conserve and restore buildings so that they can be enjoyed by the wider community. With our support, thousands of people of all faiths have brought the heritage of their place of worship to life.

In Scotland, we continue to work in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland to deliver funding for places of worship.

What do we support?

The places of worship we support help local and wider communities to engage with heritage. We fund:

  • activities that connect people with heritage

OR

  • activities that connect people with heritage and include some capital works to historic fabric

The historic fabric of a building is the original or historically significant building materials or construction.

What we expect from projects we fund

Through the breadth of our funding, we want to help places of worship become more resilient and their buildings genuinely sustainable. See our organisational resilience good practice guidance for more details.

We want to see places of worship working in partnership with other local organisations so they can build their capacity, embed their projects in the local community and deliver more long-term impacts.

We expect the cost of running the activities to be included in the budget as a key part of your request for funding.

We do not fund projects that are solely for repairs or alterations to historic fabric.

We like to see faith groups working with non-faith groups. This can strengthen the faith group by bringing extra skills and capacity to the project, and ensure the project is owned and valued by the whole community. These new partnerships can have long lasting benefits for the place of worship.

What sort of project might we fund?

  • exploring the building and bringing it to life through new interpretation, alongside necessary repair works
  • running heritage learning activities and community events, and creating space for them by carrying out alterations to the fabric
  • exploring, conserving and interpreting the biodiversity of external spaces including graveyards and cemeteries
  • providing better access to heritage by digital means 
  • community events to involve people in recording the removal, repair and reinstallation of bells, organs, hatchments and benefactor boards, alongside the repairs 
  • opportunities for people to learn about the art in places of worship, alongside a programme of conservation, such as stained glass, memorials and monuments, wall paintings, statues, historic fixtures or graffiti
  • discovery, conservation and learning about the creatures that live in the building, such as bats or birds of prey
  • Activities to help your group manage heritage more effectively, such as researching existing and new audiences, or trying new approaches to fundraising or income generation.

How to get funding

Each of our funding programmes has detailed guidance and further resources to help you apply. Find out whether you are eligible for funding.

You might also want to explore the Listed Places of Worship grants scheme.