Sheffield church is trailblazer for new heritage maintenance service

5th June 2017

A Sheffield church has become the first in the country to benefit from MaintenanceBooker, an innovative maintenance service from the National Churches Trust, designed to make it easy for the people who look after our historic churches to keep them in good condition.

The historic Grade II listed St Augustine’s church in Endcliffe, Sheffield, is the first church in the UK to carry out vital maintenance work booked through the MaintenanceBooker website.

On Monday 5 June, working at height on extension and jacking ladders, a team from Stone Technical Services Ltd, building and structure experts, cleaned the gutters and downpipes at St Augustine’s church.

They also reported on the building’s condition at high level. This will help the volunteers who look after this historic building to ensure that it is preserved for the future.

St Augustine’s church also received a £1,000 Preventative Maintenance Micro-Grant from the National Churches Trust, to help cover half the cost of this vital work.

Pam West, from St Augustine’s church, Endcliffe, said:

“We have a very large Victorian church which is difficult to reach so we have not had our gutters cleaned for a long time.”

“We are very grateful to MaintenanceBooker for allowing this job to go ahead.”

Based on the principle that prevention is better than cure, MaintenanceBooker is a new website that provides an online ‘one stop shop’ where churches and chapels can book accredited contractors for services including gutter clearance, tree maintenance and inspecting lightning protection systems.

It helps overburdened church wardens, volunteers and clergy to identify and book professional help to maintain their buildings, helping prevent the need for expensive repairs and saving them for the future.

Contractors are selected based on their experience working with churches and historic buildings; qualifications; and references from previous work.

MaintenanceBooker is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and run by the National Churches Trust and 2buy2. It is initially available in Yorkshire, but will be expanding into the rest of the country. The website is at www.maintenancebooker.org.uk

Dr Julie Banham, Secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Sheffield, said:

"Caring for large and complex listed church buildings is a difficult task which relies on the time and commitment of volunteers. Most damage to a church building is caused by leaking roofs, blocked gutters and drains."

"MaintenanceBooker offers a major service to churches by professionally and safely accessing high level gutters and drains to ensure they are running freely. It is a very welcome addition to the variety of means used to ensure church buildings are well maintained and valued assets for wider community use."

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