Nayler Award for Excellence in Church Maintenance

We provide annual funding to the National Churches Trust to support their Foundation and Preventative Maintenance grants programmes which support urgent maintenance works and small repairs and enable churches to carry out maintenance services. The Trust supported the NCT’s Good Guardianship Awards in 2019, and these were renamed the Nayler awards in 2020 in recognition of the commitment of Georgina Nayler, the previous Director of the Pilgrim Trust, to the cause of maintenance.

The Pilgrim Trust has long been an advocate for the value of good maintenance practice. Annual maintenance plans, regular inspections and small preventative repairs stop many minor problems from escalating into large, expensive repair needs that can threaten the future of a building.

The Pilgrim Trust’s Nayler Award for Excellence in Church Maintenance has been won this year by ChristChurch in Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire. The announcement came on 20 November at the National Churches Trust ‘s Local Treasures event and with it came the news that two other churches shortlisted for the awards St Leonards Church, Southoe, Cambridgeshire and Cardross Parish Church in Dumbartonshire had both won Runners Up Award and a cash prize of £2,500 each.

“Regular maintenance checks, and proactive maintenance repairs, ensure the preservation of original historic building fabric by reducing the need for major repairs. They also save money in the long-term as delaying maintenance leads to higher repair costs. Much of this crucial work is organised or carried out on a voluntary basis by local people. Yet, their vital contribution is frequently unrecognised. Congratulations to the winner and to the runners up. I’m pleased that their contribution to the upkeep of their churches has been recognised.” Catherine Townsend, Head of Church Support for the National Churches Trust

Sue Bowers, Director of the Pilgrim Trust commented that the ‘awards highlight best practice in church maintenance and shine a light on the dedication, energy and care that church communities give to ensuring the sustainability of their historic buildings. They show that when it comes to maintenance, the ‘little but often’ approach can reap huge benefits.” .”

Judges were impressed with how maintenance was a well-organized collective effort across the church involving the architect, PCC, churchwardens, and volunteers, and the impact this had made on maintaining a good stand of upkeep.  Plus, they shared the plans with the congregation via social media, so everyone was aware of issues that needed addressing. The winning church received a prize of £7,500 and the runners up £2500 each.

Images with kind permission of the National Churches Trust