Grant brings fresh hope to small rural church community following lead theft

St Andrew’s Church, Coston near Melton Mowbray, has secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) grant of £76,000 with advice and guidance from our Diocesan Church Buildings Team.


Gill Elliott and Simon Headley fromthe team are happy to advise parishes on grants and funding for building repair project and development. You can read more about Coston’s project below:


St Andrew’s Church at Coston, near to Melton Mowbray has received a grant of £76,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the repair of its church roof, which was severely damaged by lead theft in 2018 and to restore the important historic interior.  

The lead theft damage led the church to being placed on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’. This lists important buildings which are at threat of being lost to the nation.  

St Andrew’s historic importance is reflected by its a Grade I listed status.  It has Norman origins and has been central to village life since then.  It has an important historic interior which includes a small corbel (sculpture) showing a naked demon fully exposed—an unusual feature to be found in a church!  The church also has a colony of Pipistrelle bats in its roof.

The repairs coincide with a project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to explore the churches and villages of Coston and Garthorpe’s past, which is rich in history but nothing is written down into one document.   Villagers are working with Dr Pam Fisher from the Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust to rectify this.  There will be a guided walk of the church and historic medieval earthworks this summer as part of Leicestershire’s 2020 Archaeology Festival.  

The works are being coordinated by Keith Hamilton from Darnton B3 Architects.

Churchwarden David Chubb said: 'The importance of The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant cannot be underestimated.  Without it the church would be under threat of closure.  The loss of the roof has brought the community of Coston and Garthorpe together.  We are not only able to safeguard the church for the future but we are able to learn about, and share the interesting history of the church and local area.’


Revd David Cowie, priest-in-charge, said: ‘I am immensely grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for the generous grant, which will make sure there is a future for the church in Coston. I am delighted that our church building can continue as a place where the local villages and worshipping communities can continue to meet for key moments in their lives, connecting us to the history of those who have come before us, and allowing us to hand on the legacy of history to those who will come after.’

Grade I listed buildings are classed as being of “exceptional interest” and account for only 2.5% of the National List.  The loss of the lead roof at Coston is not an isolated case. Many small rural churches in Leicestershire are being targeted by thieves who strip the lead from churches causing significant damage, and distress within the communities. 

Coston and Garthorpe is a rural parish some six miles to the NE of Melton Mowbray. St Andrew’s is an active church within the Framland Benefice and it plays a central role linking the community together.  Its loss would be significant. It is a small population with two villages and isolated rural farms.  

Using money raised by the National Lottery Fund, the NLHF inspires, leads and resources the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities now and in the future. 

National Churches Trust

There is also funding available for church buildings from National Churches Trust which offers three main grant programmes:

The Foundation Grant Programme - offers grants of between £500 and £5,000 towards urgent maintenance works and small repairs identified as high priority within a recent Quinquennial Inspection or Survey Report. Also, small investigative works and surveys. Project costs should be up to £10,000 excl. VAT and awards will never exceed 50% of the costs. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis from the start of 2020. 

Applications for Foundation will be considered on a rolling basis. The final opportunity to submit an application will be 30 October 2020. 

The Gateway Grant Programme  offers grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 towards project development and investigative work up to RIBA planning stage 1, to support churches preparing for a major project, and in developing their project to the point at which they can approach a major grant funder. Grants will never exceed 50% of the net project costs for this phase.

The Gateway Grant Programme also now offers grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 for urgent and essential maintenance and repair projects costing between £10,000 and £100,000. Grants will never exceed 50% of the net project costs.

The next deadline for the Gateway Grant Programme is the 14 May 2020 (for a decision in July).

The Cornerstone Grant Programme - offers grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 towards the cost of major urgent structural repair projects costed at more than £100,000 including VAT.

The NCT will also consider projects that introduce kitchens and accessible toilets to enable increased community use, costed at more than £30,000 including VAT. Grants will never exceed 50% of the project cost.

More information, including videos and how to apply can be found on the website.

The Diocesan Funding Directory 2020 may also be of assistance in finding grants. A copy can be obtained by contacting Gill Elliott, our Buildings Development Enabler on 0116 261 5353 or


St Andrews Church. Coston



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