ITV Border News report on Cumbria Maintenance Co-operatives Project

Following the Diocese of Carlisle press release in support of the Maintenance Co-operatives Project, ITV Border news contacted us to see if they could do a short piece about the project for their 6pm Lookaround news magazine slot on Thursday 3 April.

The news editor was keen to interview not only someone from Carlisle Diocese but also me with a volunteer involved with caring for a local church.

There followed lots of ringing around to see if any of the churches who’d expressed an interest in being involved with the project were willing and able to come and do some filming with Paul Crone the cameraman/presenter from Border News the following morning. Mike Higginbottom from St Michael’s at Kirkby Thore near Appleby bravely stepped up to the mark on the basis that all publicity is good publicity so the shoot was arranged.

St Michael’s is a grade 2* church on the Heritage at Risk register due mainly to the chancel walls wanting to part company with the roof – with visible cracks appearing in an arch put in by the Victorians. They are in the process of trying to raise significant funds to undertake the repair works.

The filming itself took about an hour and a half, with the presenter and cameraman doing the whole thing single handed – involving much running backwards and forwards to adjust the camera when filming his own introduction. He then sped off to Keswick to interview the Venerable Richard Pratt, Archdeacon for West Cumbria, for his thoughts about the project.

It’s always interesting which bits of the interviews make the cut and hopefully the finished piece, which can be seen for a limited time on the ITV website gives a good indication of what the project is about. It’s fantastic publicity for us to launch the project and raise awareness about it in Cumbria and we’re delighted that Border felt it was important enough of a story to focus on it for the regional news.

Huge thanks to Dave Roberts Diocese of Carlisle Communications Officer, Mike Higginbottom St Michael’s Treasurer, St Michael’s Churchwarden Margaret and the Venerable Richard Pratt, not to mention Paul Crone from Border TV too of course.

Link to the ITV Border News – Lottery funding to help maintain historic churches 4 April 2014

Sue Manson
SPAB Maintenance Cooperative Project Regional Project Officer Cumbria

Kirkby Thore filming Paul 2.4.14 Kirkby Thore Mike filming Higginbottom Kirkby Thore ITV filming team cropped Kirkby Thore setting up the shot Kirkby Thore filming 2.4.1

Launch events on the way in Herefordshire and Worcestershire

We will be running two launch events for the Maintenance Co-ops project in Herefordshire (14 May 2014) and Worcestershire (31 May 2014). Both events are for anyone caring for a place of worship in the local area and interested in volunteering to help undertake basic maintenance at a place of worship.

The Herefordshire launch will take place on Wednesday 14 May 2014 from 10am to 1pm (followed by a soup and networking lunch) at St Peter’s Church, Church Road, Peterchurch, Herefordshire HR2 0RS.  The event is free to attend but you must register – you can register and find full programme details here

The Worcestershire launch is on Saturday 31 May 2014, from 10am to 1pm (followed by a soup and networking lunch) at Church House, adjacent to St Bartholomew’s Church, Areley Kings, nr Stourport, Worcestershire DY13 0TB.  This event is also free to attend but you must register – you can register and find full programme details here.

Diocese of Carlisle supports the Maintenance Co-operatives Project

We are delighted that the Diocese of Carlisle has issued the following press release in support of our project.  We look forward to working with them in Cumbria. The press release reads:

The Diocese of Carlisle is supporting a three year project, launched to help maintain Cumbria’s historic churches.


Courtesy of Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

The ‘Maintenance Cooperatives Project’ will be run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund.  The aim is to create a network of volunteers across the county to allow people to develop skills in the repair and upkeep of their places of worship.

We hope this project will be a real help to all the volunteers who look after Cumbria’s historic places of worship by providing training, support and skill sharing opportunities. The project is open to faith buildings of all denominations and indeed all ages. Regular maintenance is vital for all properties, regardless of age, scale or purpose and this project aims to encourage and support people already involved, and hopefully to get more people involved with looking after churches and places of worship at the heart of many communities. Research shows that every one pound spent carrying out preventative maintenance could save twenty pounds in avoidable repairs within five years.”

Cumbria is one of five regions in the UK to receive funding for the Maintenance Cooperatives. The plan is to set up five of the groups across the county over the next three years. The cooperatives will be part of a national network which will allow the sharing of ideas, resources and good practice as well as providing peer-to-peer support.
It will include a free tailored training programme for heritage-related skills designed to meet local needs and interests.  The scheme has been welcomed by The Ven Richard Pratt, Archdeacon of West Cumberland, who also has responsibility for buildings strategy for the Church of England in Cumbria. The maintenance and upkeep of our churches presents a very real strain on finances but it is imperative we do all we can to ensure our historic places of worship remain fit for purpose and open to all. By acting today to maintain places of worship properly, it means subsequent repair costs in the future can be drastically reduced. “

The project follows on from a Faith in Maintenance training programme which SPAB ran for 5 years and included three training sessions in Cumbria. To start the project off there will be three free taster maintenance training days this year, open to everyone.  If you are interested in hosting one of these training days at your place of worship you are asked to contact Sue Manson directly on 07776 197143 or via email at Their website can be accessed at