St Mary, SledmereThe East Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust has secured funding from LEADER Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways programme to build on the work it began with a LEADER+ Church Tourism Initiative project in 2005-2008.

The project, run in consultation with the Diocese of York, aims to increase the appreciation, understanding, accessibility and community use of historic churches; and through advice, training and capacity building, improve confidence within rural communities and congregations to ‘own’, manage, maintain, and promote these buildings to ensure a sustainable future for what is at the core of the area’s distinctive history and identity. The project manager is David Neave.  



The main aims of the project are:

  1. The development of church tourism in partnership with churches and communities. Updating information relating to the earlier project and extending the coverage to Howdenshire and the Vale of York and those areas of Ryedale District and Scarborough Borough within the LEADER CWWW area.
  2. Providing advice and training on basic church maintenance. At least three workshops to be held in conjunction with the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Faith in Maintenance scheme. See this website for information on these courses. A course is planned for 28 April 2012, to be held at Kirby Grindalythe (tbc).
  3. Exploring the practicalities and local support for an area-wide church maintenance scheme. Similar schemes are run successfully in Suffolk, Norfolk and Gloucestershire providing contractors to carry out annual maintenance tasks. 
  4. Drawing up a strategic plan for the long-term management of historic churches, and a priority action list based on data from an audit to be undertaken by qualified volunteers of around 160 churches in the LEADER CWWW. This builds on a pilot scheme on six Yorkshire Wolds churches carried out by members of the East Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust in 2004-2006 with funding from English Heritage.


The project has produced three new church guide leaflets that can be downloaded from this website: Sykes Churches Trail, Northern Route, Historic Churches in and around Filey and Historic Churches in Howdenshire.