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Faith in Maintenance – Helping Volunteers Care for Historic Places of Worship (Sara Crofts)


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“Take proper care of your monuments and you will not need to restore them. A few sheets of lead put in time upon the roof, a few dead leaves and sticks swept in time out of a water course, will save both roof and wall from ruin. Watch an old building with an anxious care; guard it as best you may, and at any cost, from every influence of dilapidation.” John Ruskin (speaking of Rouen Cathedral in 1859)

Most of us know that carrying out maintenance tasks on a routine basis helps to protect the fabric of our historic buildings and assures their survival for future generations to enjoy. In October 2006, the SPAB began its new five-year project to run free maintenance training courses for volunteers in England and Wales. The training courses focus on the routine work needed to keep the fabric of historic buildings in good condition and encourage people to clean their gutters, check their drains and repair slipped slates and tiles. Faith in Maintenance aims to promote sensitive and timely maintenance and encourage the many thousands of volunteers who care for historic churches, chapels, synagogues, mosques and temples to look after their buildings more effectively.

By the end of 2011, we hope to have provided 150 training courses for around 5,000 volunteers. In addition to the training courses, we have put together the Good Maintenance Guide, which contains a wealth of advice about the day-to-day care of historic places of worship as well as many references to related sources of help and guidance. We also run a telephone helpline and the Faith in Maintenance website, which features advice, case studies, an online maintenance forum and details of all our activities.

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Faith in Maintenance – Helping Volunteers Care for Historic Places of Worship (Sara Crofts)

  1. 1. Faith in Maintenance Sara Crofts Project Director
  2. 2. Statistics frequently show that historic places of worship are the most numerous , most accessible and the most visited of all historic buildings in the UK .
  3. 3. <ul><li>Some facts and figures… </li></ul><ul><li>16,151 Anglican parish churches </li></ul><ul><li>80% are listed buildings </li></ul><ul><li>3,465 Catholic churches and chapels </li></ul><ul><li>18% are listed buildings </li></ul><ul><li>5,312 Methodist churches and chapels </li></ul><ul><li>10% are listed buildings </li></ul><ul><li>1,115 United Reformed churches </li></ul><ul><li>26% are listed buildings </li></ul><ul><li>1,809 Baptist Union churches </li></ul><ul><li>16% are listed buildings </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>What is Faith in Maintenance ? </li></ul><ul><li>A five year project running from 2007 to 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Run by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings </li></ul><ul><li>Committed to providing 150 free training courses </li></ul><ul><li>Aiming to reach an audience of over 5,000 volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and others </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>What do volunteers get out of our courses? </li></ul><ul><li>An appreciation of the importance of historic places of worship. </li></ul><ul><li>The ability to recognise potential problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Information on how to tackle common maintenance tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Access to specialist professional advice. </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities to share experiences with other volunteers. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Why do buildings decay? Neglect or vandalism
  7. 7. Why do buildings decay? Inappropriate repairs or poor choice of materials
  8. 12. <ul><li>Support available after the course… </li></ul><ul><li>Technical helpline </li></ul><ul><li>Free advice on maintenance and repair issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Access to SPAB's database of professionals, craftspeople and contractors. </li></ul><ul><li>Guidance on sources of information and advice. </li></ul>David John, Faith in Maintenance Technical Adviser
  9. 13. <ul><li>Support available after the course… </li></ul><ul><li>Project website </li></ul><ul><li>Current training course dates </li></ul><ul><li>Updated guidance </li></ul><ul><li>Links </li></ul><ul><li>Downloads </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly email bulletin </li></ul><ul><li>Online forum </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 14. The story so far… <ul><li>Number: 45 courses held in the first two years at venues throughout England and Wales. </li></ul><ul><li>Attendance: Approximately 1500 to date (the average attendance at a course is 33). </li></ul><ul><li>Faith Groups: Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Unitarian and United Reformed Church </li></ul>
  11. 15. “ Put Protection in the place of Restoration, to stave off decay by daily care, to prop a perilous wall or mend a leaky roof… … thus only can we protect our ancient buildings, and hand them down instructive and venerable to those that come after us.” SPAB Manifesto William Morris 1877