"Alarms for Churches Appeal"

Suffolk churches are facing an onslaught of lead theft attacks. Over the past three weeks alone, seven Suffolk churches - including internationally renowned 'wool churches' like Lavenham and Stratford St Mary- have seen whole aisle roofs ripped out & stolen by organised criminal gangs.

Devastated communities are now facing months, or years of fundraising to repair this desecration and replace at a cost typically of £100,000 per church.
Many churches and chapels of all denominations across Suffolk are at risk because they do not yet have an alarm system.


So the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust (SHCT) has launched an urgent "Alarms for Churches Appeal", so that alarm systems can be installed on the roofs of churches at risk as fast as achievable. Following negotiations with an approved security alarm supplier, the Trust is offering to cover half the cost of involved, up to a value of £2,500 per church. Trustees are guaranteeing to pay this for the first ten churches who apply and are now launching an appeal, so that many more vulnerable churches & chapels in Suffolk can get the same financial support .

The SHCT is appealing for the people of Suffolk to support the appeal so more churches are properly protected and can secure full insurance cover.

"Current ecclesiastical insurance policies will only pay the first £7,000 of a claim if no suitable alarm is installed," explained Martin Favell, the Chairman of the Trust, "but many churches and chapels simply cannot afford the cost of these alarms. When a church is targeted local people are faced with massive repair bills, not only to replace the missing lead but also repair the considerable rain damage that can result from the theft. Alarms not only act as a really effective deterrent, but also their presence means that were the worst to still happen, their insurance will cover the cost of the damage. "

"The SHCT are asking the people of Suffolk to help with a donation, however small, either via JustGiving http://www.justgiving.com/suffolkhct or by sending a cheque made payable to  SHCT to The Secretary, Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, Brinkleys, Hall Street, Long Melford, Suffolk, CO10 9JR".

Martin added, "if the people of Suffolk really get behind this appeal, we can have a huge impact in deterring the criminals and saving these buildings which define the Suffolk landscape and are a treasured part of our towns or villages".

Churches and chapels of all denominations who wish to apply for a special grant to help them to install an approved alarm system should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , headed "Alarms for Churches Scheme, Request for Enrolment Form".

Welcome to Suffolk Historic Churches Trust








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.



Suffolk's Churches


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.)

Bedfield church undergoing repairs



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. 


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.)




 The Annual Suffolk Historic Churches Sponsored Bike Ride

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).

2009 SHCT Friends Meeting



Friends of SHCT 

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.

To donate or raise money for Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, find us on JustGiving
Ceiling paintings, St Marys Huntingfield
Detail of ceiling paintings, St Mary's, Huntingfield

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Forthcoming events

Annual Meeting of Friends
October 12, 2015 (07:00 - 10:00)
(SHCT Events)
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