The Essex Association of Change Ringers award grants to bell restoration projects. Under the present system, grant applications are made in advance of works being carried out, and are paid after the granting of a faculty and satisfactory completion of the works. The guidelines describe Category 1 as being for new installations and Category 2 for “Essential repairs to existing installations, especially where they are liable to fall into an unringable state”. However, the guidelines also state “Routine maintenance will not normally be considered.”
There is a constant need for maintenance in District towers and we suspect much of this is either overlooked or deferred for lack of finance. Many churches in Essex, particularly those in rural areas and in large benefices, are in general not well endowed and funds for such works are very limited. Absence of regular maintenance at local level, whether from lack of knowledge or someone able to carry out such work, is the cause of many problems. Belfry maintenance is a priority - without bells there can be no ringing and if bells are difficult to ring there will be fewer ringers able and willing to ring them.
Christina Brewster – who sits on the Grants Sub-Committee – proposed a grant aid scheme for minor works, such as replacement pulleys and minor repairs. Her proposal was to provide a simple and relatively rapid means of procuring a small grant towards remedial works. No faculty is required (in most cases at least) for minor repairs, and the Grants-Sub Committee would have the authority to issue grants for minor works, without the requirement of approval from the Management Committee.
At the February 2015 Management Committee meeting, members agreed to a scheme to assist minor works within churches where urgent work was required to keep the bells going and funds were not available locally for such works. The scheme was launched at the Essex Association AGM on 4 May.
Grant applications for minor works will be considered by the Grants Sub-committee as soon as practicable and as a matter of urgency. The maximum grant likely to be offered for minor works will be £250.
Grant aid is not provided for bell-ropes, with either grant aid scheme.
Click here to download a copy of the Minor Works Guidelines and Application Form (PDF) (revised October 2015)
Click here to download the Minor Works Protocol (PDF)
4 May 2015