To be eligible for the scheme, your place of worship must be listed with the relevant statutory listing agency. For places of worship in England, Scotland, and Wales, you can check your listing by searching at British Listed Buildings. Places of worship in Northern Ireland can check their listing by searching at Northern Ireland Buildings Database.
Listings carried out by local councils are not acceptable within the scheme. Claims will only be considered for repairs to buildings that are listed at the time the work is carried out.
If your claim is returned because we cannot identify your listing, it does not necessarily mean that the place of worship is not listed – it may mean that the details recorded at the time of listing differ slightly to those on the application. You should return your application together with paperwork to show your listing with the relevant statutory listing agency.
Part of our approval process is to check against the statutory records that your building is formally listed, however if you do not know the listing grade or category you can leave that field blank in your application.
If your building is not listed you can apply to have it considered to be listed if it is of special architectural or historic interest:
Northern Ireland: The Listing Process for historic buildings
Scotland: Propose a building for listing
Wales: How to request a listing
The scheme is designed to assist works to places of worship where the costs would be the responsibility of a local congregation or a recognised denomination or faith group. The scheme covers only formally constituted religious organisations. You’ll be asked to certify that the religious organisation the place of worship serves:
If neither of these apply, you’ll be asked to provide a copy of your constitution.
The building’s sole or main use must be as a public place of worship and it must be used as a place of public worship at least 6 times a year. You’ll be asked to certify this.
Certain places of worship are not required to demonstrate that buildings are used for public religious worship at least 6 times a year. These include:
Applications should include the registered charity number where applicable, along with any other supporting evidence to show how the criteria are met.
For monasteries and nunneries, and similar establishments of other faiths, only the element of the building used for religious worship is eligible.
Areas of the building used for accommodation are not eligible under the scheme. The only exception to this is where the accommodation is provided for use on a temporary basis only as a refuge for the homeless or for similar social/welfare purposes. Where an element of the building is used for ineligible accommodation, the percentage of space allocated for this use must be made clear on the application.
A building used or made available for use by a minister or religion wholly or mainly as a residence from which to perform the duties of his/her office is not included.
Ancillary listed buildings/stand-alone or separate structures are not included unless their sole or main use is as a place of public religious worship or they are permanently linked to and form part of the structure of the listed building.
In most cases church halls do not meet the criterion of solely or mainly being in use for public religious worship. You will need to provide evidence that use for public religious worship outweighs the total of all other uses. In order to be eligible, a hall must also be a listed building in its own right.
In cases where a hall is primarily used for public religious worship, we may meet some costs, but only those which relate to its use as a place of public religious worship.
We don’t need evidence that planning consent has been granted for repairs, however you do need to tell us if consent is needed and that the work has been approved. Also, you may need to provide written evidence of approval or to demonstrate why consent was not required, if your claim is audited.
Private chapels, and chapels at schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, prisons and almshouses are not eligible under the scheme unless all of the following apply: