Churches in the Thames Valley have been awarded grants from the Diocese of Oxford to help with rising energy costs and opening Warm Hubs.
Over £550,000 worth of grants have been allocated to churches across the region, assisting with the increased costs of heating church buildings during the winter months. An extra £20,000 has been made available to churches opening their doors as Warm Hubs offering a space for local residents struggling with the cost of heating their homes.
In Henley on Thames, St Mary’s Church received a grant helping to establish a Warm Hub two days a week during the cold winter months. The church is open to anyone from 8 am to 5 pm on Thursday and Sunday each week until the end of February. Father Jeremy Tayler, Rector of the Church, said:
“We’re very grateful to the diocese for the donation and we’re delighted to be able to welcome everyone into the church to keep warm this winter, particularly those in need.”
St James Church, Aston received a grant to support with energy costs. Julian Sayers, Church Treasurer, shares the difference the grant will make:
“At a time when we are trying to ensure that our Church remains warm and welcoming, whilst hosting community events in addition to our regular weekly services, the grant will be very helpful towards the rising electricity bills we are facing.”
Walton Churches Partnership in Milton Keynes received a grant for their Warm Hub and a grant to help with church energy bills. The Revd Matt Trendall, Rector of the Church said:
"As a multi-church parish, Walton, has three church buildings to heat for weekly worship as well as a host of midweek events open to the community. Two of the churches have recently registered long-running weekly cafes/coffee mornings as part of the Warm Welcome initiative, and we are thrilled that the generous diocesan grant will help to cover the increased costs of continuing to offer these weekly to our parish."
Additional funds have been granted to clergy and other paid ministers experiencing hardship during the cost-of-living crisis. A total of over £650,000 was allocated to the Diocese of Oxford by the Archbishop’s Council for ministers experiencing financial hardship and to support churches with energy costs during 2022.
Listen to local BBC Radio coverage of the grants and warm banks in the Thames Valley: