Advice & Guidance

Volunteers

We know that the task of caring for historic places of worship can seem like quite a challenge, especially if congregation numbers are modest or there are other competing concerns. However, as the saying goes, many hands make light work - so here are some ideas about how to engage others in the upkeep or your buildings. 

Working partyFirstly, why not think about setting up a working party to tackle simple, straightforward tasks such as clearing away plant growth from around the base of the walls.  People often enjoy working together to achieve a shared goal - especially if their efforts are rewarded with tea and cakes!

Consider starting a ‘Friends group'.  There might be a number of people within the local community who don't take part in services but who care deeply about the building and might be willing to help with fundraising or maintenance.  Guidance on setting up a ‘Friends group' can be found on the Parish Resources website and also through the National Churches Trust.

You might also think about explaining your repair needs to visitors in a poster or a leaflet.  Many visitors to historic buildings will have little idea of the cost of maintenance or repair.  If you can demonstrate how donations will be spent your visitors may be encouraged to be a little more generous.  The idea of sponsoring a roof tile or a window might appeal to some visitors too.

Poster

Alternatively, you could get young people involved in looking after your place of worship.  CSV Cathedral Camps runs the ReFresh Project as a way of diversifying the type of buildings and the types of volunteers the charity works with.  It is a programme of one-day volunteering events in faith buildings across England aimed at 16 to 25 year olds.  The ReFresh Project combines the expertise of the Cathedral Camp week long residential programme with the flexibility required by smaller venues.  Find out how to get involved on the Cathedral Camps website.

Lastly, why not organise a fundraising event during National Maintenance Week. This could be a good way of drawing attention to the maintenance and repair needs of your building whilst raising some much needed funds at the same time.

Further information

© SPAB 2012