Churches in Suffolk targeted by lead thieves are among those set to receive almost £500,000 in government grants to help restore their damaged roofs.
All Saints’ Church in Chevington and St Mary’s Church in Combs were among the churches targeted in a spate of lead thefts late last year causing thousands of pounds of damage.
They are two of 12 Suffolk churches set to share £460,000 from the government’s Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund with All Saints set to receive £21,800 and St Mary’s £35,400.
Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket MP Jo Churchill said she welcomed the news of the funding ‘wholeheartedly’.
She said: “I know only too well from my working life before Parliament that when a church loses its roof to lead theft it is not only the immediate loss but the worry of further damage to the fabric of the building that can be the most challenging.
“The wonderful news of these monies will mean that the roof of St Marys Church in Combs can be replaced sooner rather than later.”
MP James Cartlidge said he ‘found it heart-breaking’ when he heard churches in Suffolk had been targeted, leading him to campaign for the government grant scheme to include churches hit by lead theft.
He said: “I began looking for ways in which I could support the churches in South Suffolk who had suffered at the hands of these criminals and was disappointed to discover that the Government funded Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund scheme did not cover cases of theft.
“I had seen first-hand how valuable the funding had been as the church in my home village of Assington had been one of the lucky recipients in the first round of funding.
“As such, working with the other Suffolk MPs, I raised the matter with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who were very accommodating in amending the rules in time for the latest round of funding.”
MP Matt Hancock said he was ‘extremely pleased’ to hear the church in Chevington was receiving a grant.
“This needless and destructive crime has very sadly occurred in several churches across Suffolk and I saw for myself the upset it caused to the local community on a recent visit to All Saints,” he said.
“Our churches are a vital part of our history and cultural life and it is fantastic that money is being made available to maintain these beautiful buildings.”
The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that 12 of our churches in Suffolk have attracted grants from the Government’s Roof Repair Fund, totalling more than £460,000.
“This money will make a huge difference to worshippers at the successful churches across Suffolk who work so hard to raise funds, often with fantastic local support and fund-raising events, supported by the communities they serve.”
The 12 Suffolk churches set to receive grants are:
St Mary’s Church, Combs £35,400
St Nicholas Chapel, Stowmarket £42,700
All Saints Church, Chevington £21.800
St Mary’s Church, Thornham Parva £13,300
St Mary’s Church, Great Bealings £51,200
All Saints’ Church, Gazeley £16,500
All Saints Church, Hacheston £55,000
St Andrews’s Church, Brockley £84,400
All Saints Church, Hundon £65,500
All Saints Church, Little Bealings £18,200
St Peter and St Paul, Alpheton £19,900
St Bartholomew’s Church, Groton £39,000