Why doesn’t HCT take on Anglican Buildings?
We are the only charity in England dedicated to supporting non-Anglican places of worship. There are more than forty trusts rescuing Anglican churches.
Can we put on events at your chapels?
Yes! Most of our Churches, Chapels and Meeting Houses welcome events, meetings, concerts and ceremonies. Facilities, capacity and availability vary greatly and we keep charges realistic. Go here to make an enquiry.
2020 Update: the current situation has led to some of our chapels closing to visitors. Please contact individual chapels to find out about their opening arrangements and social distancing provisions.
Do you give grants?
Unfortunately we do not have sufficient funds to offer grants, and all the fundraising we undertake is to support Historic Chapels as each year we need to raise £220,000 in order to continue our work. To support us as a Supporter or Patron please visit here or make a donation by visiting here.
Can my group visit?
We welcome group visits who have different interests in our chapels. We would advise enquiring in advance to ensure the building is open and accessible.
We also welcome enquires from groups who wish to hire our buildings for meetings or other events.
Do you get money from the churches or Government?
Neither – unlike the scheme for the Church of England which receives both. We have received generous grants from Historic England (which is ultimately funded by the Government) and the Heritage Lottery Fund, but we have to bid annually for these, case by case.
Who looks after the buildings?
Many of our chapels have local volunteers who help care and maintain our buildings. A full-time Local Community Officer supports the volunteers of all twenty chapels.
As we work to achieve financial sustainability over the next three years, we are working closely with Historic England to ensure that our new strategy remains on track. To help us achieve our outcomes, The Trust is currently working in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust who provide support and advice to the HCT on a daily basis.
This support is made up of a HCT Local Community Officer who supports the volunteers with the day to day management of the chapels,three Estate Officers who arrange regular maintenance, and advices on minor repairs and larger building projects; a Finance Officer, and the management team of the CCT who advice the Trustees on governance and management of the Trust and the new strategy.
Do you charge admission?
No, but we hope you will leave a donation towards upkeep. For group visits or guided tours there may be a charge. At concerts and events admission charges and ticketing may apply.
Will you take on more buildings?
At present, we are unable to take on more chapels. We hope that once we have increased our finacial capacity over the next three years we will be able to review the situation. However, if a chapel were in desperate need and came with a viable endowment, we would consider taking the building on sooner.
Are you a religious charity?
We are registered with the Charity Commission as a secular charity. This is in part because of the diverse number of denominations our chapels are affiliated with. It means that we are able to provide support equally and fairly to all our chapels, which benefits the wider public.
Are your buildings still used for worship?
All are buildings remain open for occasional worship as well as for use for a diverse range of community events and activities. Many are still available for baptisms, weddings and funerals.
Where do you operate?
What is the significance of your buildings?
All our chapels are of national importance because of their architectural or historical significance. This is reflected by all our chapels being listed either grade II* or grade 1 star, making them among the 8% most important historically listed buildings in England.
Many of the chapels are important because of their association with social and religious reform. Historically, many of the people associated with the buildings have played pivotal roles in ensuring that religious tolerance and social equality was recognised. The values associated with the different denominations are still shared today and they are reflected in the diverse ways our volunteers and local communities use and share the buildings.
Can I get married in your buildings?
Religious marriages are available in six of our twenty buildings, with a ceremony according the tradition for those buildings. Under UK law we cannot offer civil ceremonies. However, you may have a blessing or celebration at one of our buildings, following a civil ceremony at a Register Office. Go here for details.
Who runs Historic Chapels Trust?
The charity’s unpaid Trustees have ultimate responsibility. Most of our buildings benefit greatly from the support of local volunteers. The volunteers of all twenty building are supprted by a full-time Local Community Officer.
Who are the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT)?
The CCT are the national body responsible for protecting Church of England churches at risk. They own the third largest collection of heritage buildings in the country, all of which are places of worship no longer in regular use. For over 50 years they have been developing expertise in the repair, conservation and regeneration of Places of Worship, and they support their own extensive network of local volunteers. We believe that they have the expertise, capacity, credibility and knowledge of working with local volunteers to offer us a practical way forward to support the future of the HCT.
What happens about day-to-day enquiries and forthcoming events
All enquires, including the hire or longer-term rent of a chapel, burials or general queries should be emailed to Vivienne Cooling at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Chapel specific enquires, such as events or local hire can be emailed directly to a chapel using the contact us page.
Can I see your accounts?
Yes. Audited accounts for the last five years are available on the Charity Commission website and may be downloaded free of charge.