Message From The Chairman,
Richard Halsey MBE
Welcome to the website of the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust!
We exist to help congregations in Cambridgeshire with the repair and enhancement of their historic places of worship by offering grants and loans; the Grants dropdown tab above gives details of what we help with and how to apply. We also want to bring the beauty and purpose of these buildings to the attention of the general public and so hold a Conference in April and four guided Church Tours in May-August each year. Details can be found under Events. We are also a membership organisation and details of how to join can be found under the Join us tab.
The Trust offers grants and loans to places of worship from money we raise ourselves and from funding derived from the Landfill Communities Fund by Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN). Last year’s Newsletter warned that the latter was likely to diminish as the nation increased its efforts to recycle rubbish.
However, the Trust was taken aback to learn in November that WREN would no longer be awarding us a block grant to distribute to Cambridgeshire churches on their behalf.
STOP PRESS NEWS
WREN’s decision follows concern about its ability to meet the landfill tax regulations when grants are offered by a third party like CHCT.
In effect, our available funding for grants has more than halved. In each of the last four years, we have given an average of £56300 in grants, equally split between WREN and CHCT. In addition, WREN has given us awards from their Gift-aid fund totalling nearly £34000 since 2006.
We are told ‘WREN would still like to be able to support Churches and we are looking for ways of being able to provide funding under a new program (sic)...but it is unlikely there will be any firm news before June 2010’.
Trustees expect to have awarded the entire WREN monies by June, so we have decided to use all last year’s income for CHCT grants in 2010/11 (rather than increase the money for loans). Most of our annual income comes from the annual Ride and Stride event in September and so we will be putting extra effort into it this year.
We have also looked hard at our own expenses in running CHCT and concluded that we are no longer covering basic running costs – the Annual Report, our newsletter, Ride and Stride, website – from our subscriptions.
This is not so surprising, as we believe it is at least twenty years since the present £10 minimum annual subscription was set!
After comparing CHCT with other county church trusts, Trustees now wish to raise the annual member subscription to £20. We have decided not to introduce a ‘couples’ rate with its increased bureaucracy, but will continue to offer a reduced fee for the annual conference to each member and a guest. These new rates will be presented to the AGM for introduction from January 2011.
Unlike some other trusts, our programme of church tours will remain free, as we wish to encourage as many people to come as possible (but we will try to recruit new members.)
The congregational subscription will also be raised to £50 and we will expect grant and loan recipients to take out a congregational subscription for up to four years, so contributing to our funds for the benefit of others.
This increase in subscriptions entails a major overhaul of our membership list and we are taking the brave step to computerise it! We will also introduce a standard 1st January renewal date from January 2011 and forms for payment at the new rate will be distributed with the papers for the Annual General Meeting to be held in October 2010.
Members who are due to pay an annual subscription between 1st July and 31st December this year will be credited with half the new annual subscription.
These changes should make the Trust easier and cheaper to run and once set up, enable your hard working Executive to concentrate on our real business, raising and distributing funds for the repair and enhancement of the historic places of worship in Cambridgeshire.
Thank you to all our members for your support over the last year and our special thanks to Archdeacon Hugh McCurdy, who has donated £1,000 raised from his sponsored cycle ride last year to all the churches in his archdeaconry. Thank you, Hugh.
The Trust raises funds from its membership and from sponsorship of riders and walkers on the annual Ride and Stride day, this year on September 11th. Please do consider taking part, by riding your bike (or horse!) or by walking from church to church, or by manning a church to welcome riders. Half the money you raise will go to your church or chapel and half to the CHCT (or wholly to CHCT if you wish). This event is a great excuse for families or groups of friends to have a fun day together, getting a bit of gentle exercise in the early autumn sunshine (we hope!). As it is the same weekend as Heritage Open Days, you may also get to see some other historic buildings specially opening to the public.
Please join us! and help CHCT to support the congregations in maintaining the historic places of worship in Cambridgeshire.
We hope you find this website useful and we look forward to meeting you at one or all of our events
Richard Halsey MBE