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The Sheffield DAC helps parishes maintain their buildings as

places of hope, opportunity, sociability and life-changing experience.

Press release

Independent review calls for greater community use to give church buildings a sustainable future


The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals recommends empowering congregations to involve more local people in enjoying and using their churches.

Churches should be opened up for new and different uses by communities to help build a more sustainable future for the buildings, an independent report has recommended.

The Taylor Review: Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals says that congregations should be empowered to involve more local people in enjoying, valuing, using and caring for their churches.

The review panel, chaired by Bernard Taylor and made up of representatives from the Church of England and heritage bodies, was set up last year to find new ways to maintain Church of England buildings and look at the potential for different funding models.

A total of 12,200 Church of England churches are listed and since 1999 there has been £2.6 billion invested in repairs and new build projects, with Government and lottery sources providing £810 million of this investment.


Bernard Taylor, Chairman of the English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review, said:

Church buildings are an important and a much-loved part of our national heritage and form an integral part of our sense of identity and community. However, despite the hard work of many groups and volunteers around the country, they face complex problems of maintenance and repair, and are not always well used and supported.

Increased use and helping communities in their broadest form to see the value and potential of the local church is the key to the church building becoming more self-sustaining and ultimately ensuring its long term survival. The solution must be local and there is no instant solution, but these recommendations represent the next steps towards a more sustainable future for these important buildings.

Heritage Minister John Glen said:

I welcome this report and want to thank Bernard Taylor and the whole panel for their work. Our church buildings are a major part of our heritage and it is vital that they are cared for and protected. This report has shown how valued these buildings are and how many thousands of volunteers work so hard on their upkeep.

This review is an important first step to building a more sustainable future for thousands of church buildings across the country, and we will look at these recommendations carefully.

The review panel welcomed the work by the Church of England to simplify its processes and make it easier for churches to get consent to share use of their buildings. Guidance is also being prepared by the Church of England to support models of community ownership and responsibility such as the creation of local Trusts and Friends.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester and lead bishop on cathedrals and church buildings, said:

I welcome the findings of this Review. Our 16,000 churches are the jewel in the crown of our built heritage. They exist, as they always have done, to serve their communities. This is seen through daily acts of worship, celebrations of the joys of life and commemorations of its sorrows. They are, though, not just places of worship for their communities: they are social hubs for people of all ages, spaces to offer hospitality and vital services to the vulnerable; churches increasingly are the glue in community life.

I have enormous respect for the millions of volunteers and church workers who through the generations have cared for our churches.

The strategy proposed in this report to support these vital buildings will, I pray, help to protect their fabric and equip them to serve anew in the future.

The Review makes clear how churches and cathedrals are vital community assets in need of support nationally. We look forward to working with funding partners to put the proposals into place.

The review panel highlighted the best practice of many churches and of volunteers around the country, with buildings adapted and used for cafes, playgroups, and in some cases NHS and post office services. The panel said it wants to see more innovation of this kind.

The report can be read here and the DCMS press notice here.


The Sheffield Diocesan Advisory Committee aims:

  • To ensure church buildings are maintained to the best possible standard
  • To promote due regard for faculty jurisdiction so that churches retain control of their buildings
  • To advise on the architecture, archaeology, art and history of places of worship to the diocesan chancellor, the archdeacons and parishes.
  • Provide practical advice and encouragement to help congregations make strategic, evidence-based and sustainable changes to their buildings
  • To invigorate and support worshipping congregations by exploring new ways of engaging with local communities
  • To encourage and assist churches to discover, celebrate and share the heritage of their building and parish.
  • To employ heritage as a means of fostering educational opportunities, widening horizons and raising skills within the local community.
  • To help churches create a welcoming, stimulating and hospitable heart for their parishes seven days a week.
  • To ensure all works are carried out to the best possible standard
  • To foster the role of church buildings as positive and valued assets in cultivating and supporting the ever-changing social, cultural and spiritual needs of their parishes
  • To  preserve heritage and make church buildings fit for the liturgies, uses and technologies of the twenty-first century.

The  DAC is keen to support carefully developed plans from churches who are striving to discern how best their building can serve their congregation and community.

Churches are encouraged to engage with the DAC at the earliest stage of their thinking to help find solutions that are feasible, achievable and sustainable.

Please plan ahead and allow sufficient time for your application to be considered and  completed well in advance of any anticipated starting date for the works.


Useful Links

DAC meetings and submission dates 2018

DAC statutory role and member list

DAC visits

Find a church in the Diocese of Sheffield


Contact Details

DAC Secretary: Dr Julie Banham  Tel: 01709 309121

DAC Admin Officer: Miss Julia Alder Tel: 01709 309133

Historic Churches Support Officer: Katie Steele  01709 309172

Church House Reception: Tel: 01709 309100

Diocesan Registrar: Mr Andrew Vidler,  Tel: 0114 2666660   Sheffield Diocesan Registry, No 1 Velocity, 2 Tenter Street, Sheffield S1 4BY