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Heritage: Church heritage projects

A heritage project can be an opportunity to bring people together from local communities.

Beginning with a small one-off project or a series of projects, this approach gives people the opportunity to get to know the church without making a long term commitment, be at ease and hopefully gain interest in your work and future plans. Both parties can then see how things could develop from there, for example, it may lead to the establishment of a Friends scheme. Here are a few suggestions you might like to consider:


  • Church history. Work with members of local communities to write your Statement of Significance. 
  • Christian heritage project The project, ‘Building on History’ by the Diocese of London provides useful resources on their website for mission-based and community-based projects
  • Graveyards - a haven for wildlife and keen gardeners. A great resource for projects – nature/wildlife projects, green gym (keep fit outdoors gardening), community order projects (probation service). For further advice, see the Caring for Gods Acre weblink above.
  • We Love Yew! Initiative for ancient or veteran yew trees. You can search to see which Yew trees are in the Diocese of Chester- there are 14 churches
  • Family History. Read this blog by the National Churches Trust. It might be inspiration for holding a ‘family history’ event to enable visitors to look through the church records. Perhaps you might like to link with other local organisations, such as your local archives service or local history society. A society may also be interested in recording geneaological records or running another project of interest
  • Traditional heritage building skills When undertaking a restoration project you might like to consider how the project could support the ongoing development of traditional craft skills. The National Heritage Training Group has launched a UK-wide service offering traditional building skills support, information, and guidance.  For more information about the helpdesk and the NHTG’s training courses
  • Two Saints Way. A new pilgrim route between the cathedral cities of Chester and Lichfield, which passes some of our churches. Suggestions are given for associated activities
  • Photography project. Focusing on the church building and its features. In association with a college or local photographic society, which could result in an exhibition. Another idea is to run a workshop or course for adults on photography skills, in association with a photography society or learning provider; the resulting photos could form an exhibition
  • Church guidebook and/or activity trails
  • App guided tour of the church, which people can download on their smart phone/i phone
  • Local history trail or churches trail, that includes the church building. Either collaborating with others to produce a village or town trail, or linking several churches together
  • Guided tours training. Devise a project to train people as tour guides. This could be curch members and/or invite to local communities/groups, making links with tourism bodies as appropriate. Consider the project team and tasks; for example, developing a research group (people interested in history/art etc), and an interpretation group that understands what visitors will be really interested in and how best to engage them (people experienced in working with families, youth, teaching, design). Also consider logistics/H&S and marketing
  • Tactical multi sensory tour of the church building, highlighting key features- one day event. One church who has recently created such a tour is St Matthews Church, Edgeley, June 2015.
  • A temporary display to highlight key features of the church, for use at specific open day events e.g. pop up banners around the church, each one on a specific theme. Perhaps this could also be displayed in the town centre e.g. at the museum and town hall? Such a display could also be a way to raise promotion of future plans and/or part of consultation
  • Commissioning a film to capture the social history of the church, and/or as an introduction to the church building. People’s memories of the role of the church in the community can easily be lost if not captured as part of the social history of the area as well as church heritage. A film could also feature selected ephemera and archive material, for example, people’s photographs of church events
  • Music piece – contemporary commission by musician or music group based on a particular feature, theme or era of the church building. The piece could be performed live at an event, and also recorded.
  • Schools resources- potentially finding funding to commission a teacher(s) to develop pilot projects, with resources that can be used afterwards
  • Enhance website material to capture the heritage of the church and its building
  • Heritage skills event in relation to restoration project, for example, stone masonry, stained glass work...
  • Training volunteer guides to give guided tours of the building– perhaps working with local museum on recruiting people
  • Living history/theatrical performance
  • Arts projects that take the history of the church as a starting point- social history, architecture and so on. For example, inspired by stained glass, kneelers, banners, memorials, architecture, graveyard, symbolism and so on. See the Arts page for more information
  • Family explorer back packs, boxes or trolleys. These include 'detective' equipment to encourage children to look more closely at the church building. For example, they may include a maginifying glass, ruler, fabric swatches, dressing up, torch, camera or paper view finder, paper and pencils etc etc. The idea of an interactive explorer box or backpack is something well established in the museum and art sector, for example, galleries, museums, National Trust etc etc.
  • Church memories project. Gather together photographs of the church through history in the local communities through holding an event/appeal and scan to create a booklet or web resource. Or, you may like to run an oral history project or video project that combines a record of people's memories of the church with ephemera such as photographs, service sheets, event posters etc
  • Reminisicence box. Gather together photographs and objects and develop a 'loans box' that could be taken to day care centres or care homes. Perhaps you could collaborate with a health/social provider working with dementia patients to devise resources.



  • Interpretation. See the Display section of the website on interpreting your church building.


Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) project activity

If you need help devising heritage engagement activities for a HLF grant application, get in touch with Emily Allen, Church Buildings Development Officer 


Volunteer management


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The DAC Office - The office of the Diocesan Advisory Commitee (DAC) has responsibility for progressing faculty applications and providing policy advice on church building matters.  The answer to most popular enquiries will be available via these web pages but do contact the DAC Office if not.  Where appropriate, the DAC Office can put you in touch with churches who have undertaken similar work to any scheme you might be proposing yourself.