From the chairman, Richard Halsey

Welcome to the website of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust!

The Trust was founded in 1983 and since then has offered over £2,000,000 in interest free loans and nearly £500,000 in grants for works of repair and improvements to places of worship across the county. Trustees continue to give priority to making loans (currently up to a maximum of £15,000), as these help congregations to embark on a project with the confidence that they can manage the cashflow – and once work starts, donations often increase. As with other trusts, our grants (currently to a maximum of £3000) are paid on completion of the project.

For some time we have also offered grants and loans towards improvements that enable the building to be more widely used in the 21st century, to projects that provide toilets and serveries, better heating and modern wiring. We also reserve £3000 each year for grants towards the repair and conservation of memorials and monuments, including those in the churchyard. We do not offer support for churchyard walls, redecoration or liturgical reordering, or towards exploratory work or reports.

The Trust’s charitable objectives also include encouraging everyone to enjoy and to understand the art and architecture of the county’s marvellous churches and chapels. We hold an annual conference in the spring on a specific ecclesiastical theme and run church tours in the summer months. We visit three churches and chapels on a Sunday afternoon, with our experts explaining the history and architectural features to be seen in each building. We finish with tea and evening prayer at our final stop.

Our biggest fund raiser (over £24,000 in 2012) is the annual (and national) Ride and Stride Day, which in Cambridgeshire we have decided to make Ride, Stride and Drive! Participants can use cars as well as bicycles, horses, bus or their own two feet to visit as many churches and chapels as they can on Saturday, September 14th. By getting sponsorship for each church visited, money is raised for the Trust and whatever church or chapel is nominated. We realise this is a significant departure from established practice, but recognise that though there are now many more signposted cycle routes to follow, cycling along the county’s roads is not the pleasure it once was. We will review the results in the autumn.

All these events are open to everyone, but are arranged primarily for our members who know that their subscription goes towards the repair and maintenance of the county’s historic churches for future generations to enjoy, just as we do today. By growing our membership, the Trust can offer more grants and loans and encourage greater appreciation and use of these splendid public places of worship. Please join us!

Richard Halsey
Summer 2014