This year we will be exploring two churches in mid Suffolk with Clive Paine - Coddenham in the morning and Gosbeck in the afternoon. (This is a change from the original arrangement).
The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT) was founded in 1973 as a result of the growing awareness of the threat to these ancient and historic buildings. A combination of rising repair costs, dwindling congregations and hopelessly inadequate parish or community resources meant that many of the churches were facing redundancy and closure. Since then the Trust has raised and distributed over £4 million to help with the repair and maintenance of these churches. The Trust is non-denominational and churches, chapels and meeting houses are eligible to apply for grants from the Trust.
The landscape of Suffolk would look very different without the 500 medieval churches the county can be so proud of. Then there is the role of non-conformist chapels and meeting houses in our history. Even non-worshipping members of communities appreciate that it is worth the time and money involved in preserving churches and chapels for future generations. (For more details of why Suffolk's religious buildings are important to the local economy, click here.)
Churches, chapels and meeting houses that are used as a public place of worship and are open to the public can apply to the SHCT for financial help for work to the fabric of the church. (To download an application form, go to About SHCT and Resources.)
Donations and legacies help to further the work of the Trust and the Trustees are very grateful to anyone who is able to help in this way, or is willing to organise a fund-raising event. (Click here for more details.)
Our biggest fund-raiser started in Suffolk in 1982 but has now spread across the country (many counties now call it "Ride and Stride"). Riders (and walkers) register with the coordinator at their chosen church and the sponsor money they raise is shared equally between that church and the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust. The ride is held on the second Saturday in September. (click here for more details).
For a minimum donation of £15 (individual), £25 (joint or PCC) and £100 (corporate) you can become a Friend of the Trust, help to protect Suffolk's churches and chapels and be invited to attend special Friends events - such as the Annual Meeting and Supper photographed (right) in 2009. (Click HERE for more details)
For more details about the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust please contact our Assistant Secretary, Helen Read, on 01787 883884, by post to Brinkleys, Hall Street, Long Melford, Suffolk CO10 9RJ, or by sending us a message using our online form here.