Treasure Ireland – supporting church heritage

Wednesday August 12th 2020

Photo courtesy of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Treasure Ireland is a new project from the UK National Churches Trust to support historic places of worship in Northern Ireland. It will run for three years from 2020 to 2023.

Partners include the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Department of Communities.

The first Treasure Ireland newsletter states: “Exciting times are planned as we come alongside churches and chapels of all denominations, providing help and encouragement in the form of grants, training and marketing initiatives.

“Northern Ireland has an amazingly rich heritage of church and chapel buildings. This includes 895 listed places of worship, with 45 churches and chapels listed as Grade A buildings of the highest heritage significance. More people should be able to appreciate this wonderful architecture and history.

“Treasure Ireland will help you put your churches and chapels firmly on the tourist map.”

The project will offer grants for repairs and advice with maintenance to help parishes keep their church building in good condition and so avoid having to carry out expensive repairs.

Treasure Ireland will also provide a comprehensive range of training and mentoring to help people look after places of worship. Training sessions will cover topics including how to write funding bids, building maintenance, heritage interpretation and tourism.

A new grants progamme will be announced soon, with funding of between £5,000 and £10,000 for church maintenance or repair work.

Treasure Ireland is also looking for committee members from a range of backgrounds, experiences and denominations. The committee meets three time a year to make final decisions on grant awards to churches.

Free online events are as follows:

  • Northern Ireland Places of Worship Forum (August 14 10am-11.30am) – The Places of Worship Forum was set up in 2017 and provides an opportunity for churches and organisations with an interest in faith heritage to meet, share and explore ideas. The main purpose of this ONLINE session will be to introduce you to the new Treasure Ireland Church Support Project and explain how you could benefit from the project over the next 3 years. Join in.
  • What’s in it for your church – an ONLINE Introduction to Church Tourism (August 19 2pm-3.30pm) – Come and find out about how we can all help put Northern Ireland’s amazing churches, chapels and meeting houses on the tourist map. This is the first in a series of four bitesize workshops that will be held remotely via Zoom: LINK.  
  • An Introduction to Treasure Ireland Grants (August 21 10am-11am) – The Treasure Ireland Grant Programme will provide grants of between £500 and £10,000 to enable Places of Worship in Northern Ireland to carry out urgent repairs and maintenance. This ONLINE session will explain how you can apply, what the Programme will fund and what makes a good application: LINK 

For further information, contact or sign up for the Treasure Ireland e-newsletter.

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