Congregations encouraged to apply for emergency grants

Congregations are being urged to consider applying for grants from an emergency fund established to help charities and other groups weather the COVID-19 storm.

A number of parish churches across Scotland have already secured funding from the £20 million Third Sector Resilience Fund.

The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gorebridge Parish Church
Rev Mark Nicholas and Ross Watters have developed a thriving youth ministry at Gorebridge Parish Church.

The second round of grant money will be tightly focused on charities working with people in need which would be at risk of collapse during the coming 12 weeks without financial assistance.

Delivered by Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and Corra Foundation, a second phase of awards has opened and grants up to £75,000 are available.

The Third Sector Information Hub website has a grant eligibility check function.

Easy process

Gorebridge Parish Church in Midlothian received a £8,000 grant through the first phase of funding.

Minister, Rev Mark Nicholas, said: "We are seeing a drop off in income at the moment because of the lack of open plate and the loss of hall lets and so needed grant money to support our necessary costs.

"The process was very easy and the grant funding was given very quickly."

East and Old Parish Church in Forfar, Angus has secured a £10,000 grant.

Minister, Rev Barbara Ann Sweetin, said: "We are delighted to have received the money and very, very grateful.

"Although we have a large number who pay by standing order we still have a lot who pay by weekly free will offerings and open plate.

"The rental income for the church and halls is zero and that is quite a bit of money.

"Our income has dropped significantly so the money will help pay our gas and electricity because the winter bills have just come in.

"We run a charity shop and still paying rent but there is no income coming in because it is closed."

Necessary application

Greyfriars Church in Lanark, South Lanarkshire has received a £6,500 grant.

Minister, Rev Bryan Kerr, said: "The Kirk Session is very grateful to the Scottish Government and the Third Sector Resilience Fund for the grant.

"This money will be used to meet necessary expenditure such as keeping our building safe and ensuring we can meet costs associated with providing a minister to serve the parish.

"The application was necessary because we noticed a sharp drop in income with the building being closed due to the lockdown.

"We have lost out on money for hall lets to community groups who are not meeting, cash donations from individuals attending worship, and planned fundraising events that had to be cancelled."

Allan Park South Church in Stirling has been awarded £4,244 and Ruchazie Parish Church in Glasgow received £10,000.

Cranhill Development Trust in Glasgow, which was spun out of Cranhill Parish Church and provides inclusive support services to help people back into work, learn new skills and runs a community shop and garden, has been awarded £21,172.

Fischy Music, which creates health and wellbeing content for children aged three to 12, has been awarded a £20,000 grant to support online work during school closures.

Churches who plan to apply for the fundand would like advice can contact the Church of Scotland's Acting Growth Fund manager, David Williams. (