Launch events for Maintenance Co-ops are underway … and newsletter coming soon

Our team have been busy over the last couple of months setting up (free) launch events in all the areas we cover.  Kate Andrew, our Project Officer in Herefordshire & Worcestershire, ran a successful launch in Peterchurch in Herefordshire on 14 May, and will be putting on a similar event (morning session plus simple networking lunch, all free) for interested volunteers in Worcestershire at Areley Kings, near Stourport in Worcestershire on Saturday 31 May.

Meanwhile Stella Jackson, our Project Officer for Lincolnshire has set up two launch events for local volunteers.  The first is in Whaplode Village Hall on Saturday 31 May for anyone in South Lincolnshire, and a second one for North Lincolnshire on Saturday 28 June at the Arts Centre at Caistor Town Hall.  Both events are free from 10am to 4pm and will include lunch.  James Innerdale, our Technical Officer, will be running a session on doing a maintenance audit in your place of worship and what you need to record.

There will be follow-up events in both Herefordshire & Worcestershire and in Lincolnshire coming up shortly, as well as events coming soon in all the other project areas of Dorset & Somerset, Cumbria and the North East.  You can find out the details via our website (click on ‘come to an event’) shortly.  We’re also in the process of setting up our first annual conference, which this year will be on Friday 21 November 2014 in York, to coincide with National Maintenance Week.  More details soon.

Finally, we will be sending out our first project newsletter (by email) very soon – if you would like to sign up to receive this by email every quarter, you can sign up through our website


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.

Hands on fun at All Souls Bolton

Up north on Tuesday to attend the excellent Roofing Technical Day at All Souls Bolton, cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust and currently part of a Heritage Lottery Funded project.

Jenny Martin of Carefoot plc gave a quick and competent welcome and overview of the project and the day ahead.

This was followed by Alan Gardner’s interesting and informative talk on issues surrounding the use and supply of traditional roofing materials illustrated with examples from past projects. Along the way we learnt that a presumption against the use of membranes was a good starting point and that by using reclaimed materials instead of new and locally sourced we may be unwittingly adding to the problems of theft, limited supply and diminishing skills.

Next Adrian Walker of Lambert and Walker made a plea for better and safer working conditions for roofers. He pointed out that poorly considered access can often lead to poor quality work and that the inclusion of a scaffolding design within the tender documents can help to stop the quality and safety of access being compromised by the competitive tender process.

A tour of the roof gave us all a chance to see works in progress and to ask questions of the craftsmen on the job. On the way back we also had a chance to view the interior although access was limited by ongoing construction.

A generous lunch was then enjoyed by all. This was followed by practical sessions in lead working and slate and stone tile roofing with ample opportunities to get your hands on the tools and materials and really mess things up!

The day ended with a question and answer session which quickly focused on what can be done to stop the competitive tender process driving down quality. I’m not sure that Adrian’s question ‘How do you find out who’s good?’ was answered but the discussion was certainly food for thought.

For what its worth my view is that we need to educate the decision makers – they need to be invited and encouraged to attend days like these – so much more of the same please CCT/HLF!

Free and highly informative – what’s not to like? Check out future Technical Training Days at Alls Souls at  - but be quick tickets are going fast!

Finally a BIG thank you to:

All the craftsmen on site who made it such and interesting and informative day.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (

The Churches Conservation Trust (

Alan Gardner Associates. (

Carefoot  plc (

Lambert Walker (

Colm O’Kelly – Regional Project Officer Dorset and Somerset

SPAB Maintenance Cooperatives Project


SPAB Old House Eco Course – Maintenance is Key

Helped out at the Old House Eco Course in Hammersmith on Saturday. Well worth considering going to the next one in Coventry on the 14 June (contact: – and not just if you own an old house as many of the ideas for making old buildings more sustainable and energy efficient are equally applicable to places of worship.

The day was excellently organised by Lucy Jacob (SPAB Course Organiser) with Jonathan Garlick (SPAB Technical Officer) acting as a very knowledgeable MC.

In the morning Marianne Suhr and Roger Hunt, the authors of the accompanying book (‘Old House Eco Handbook’ available from – took it in turns to cover how walls, windows, doors, roofs, ceilings and floors could be adapted to make old buildings more energy efficient in ways that were not detrimental to their historic fabric and aesthetic appeal.

Marianne and Jonathan together with Pip Soodeen (SPAB Fellowship and Scholarship Organiser) provided a specialist advice clinic over the lunch period aimed at attendees with specific issues.

Roger started the afternoon session with a review of the relative merits of energy supply alternatives. After this Chris Newman (Parity Projects), Marianne, and Jonathan (gamely standing in for Paul Mallion of Conker Conservation) used case studies to show how the ideas covered in the morning session had been applied to real world projects. This was followed by an extended and enthusiastic question and answer session. Roger then outlined the likely future relationship between old houses, energy efficiency and sustainability and finally Jonathan brought it all to a conclusion.

Along the way we learnt that the positioning of radiators under windows was the result of a male inability to understand curtains (controversial!) and that maintenance is key – wet walls are cold walls and draughts due to holes in the fabric can undermine any insulation installed – so timely repairs and regular cleaning can make a real difference to a buildings energy efficiency.

Colm O’Kelly

SPAB Maintenance Cooperative Project Regional Project Officer Dorset and Somerset

East Midlands Heritage Forum

Sara Crofts attended a “Historic places of worship: working together in changing times” seminar held at Edward King House in Lincoln on Friday 18 October 2013 as a guest of the East Midlands Heritage Forum.  She gave a short presentation about the launch of the new Maintenance Co-operatives project and outlined the ways in which the SPAB will be working with the Diocese of Lincoln’s Church Buildings Team to provide advice and support to churchwardens and others in the county over the next three years.

Download a copy of Sara’s presentation: SPAB Maintenance Co-ops 191013

Training events in the West Midlands

The first of our training events are taking place in the West Midlands in late September and October.  Details of the programmes are given below but if you would like to know more contact Project Development Officer Dr Bruce Induni.

We will post further details of upcoming events on our Events page as they become available.

Church Conference

Lumen URC

Lumen URC

Sara Crofts gave a short presentation about the new Maintenance Co-operatives project to the Historic Churches Liaison Group conference held at Lumen URC in London on Friday 18th May.

The conference was organised by the National Churches Trust and provided an opportunity for representatives of the many county churches trusts to come together to discuss issues of common interest and share ideas and experiences.

You can listen to Sara’s presentation via the National Churches Trust website or download a copy of her PowerPoint presentation.