The Churches Trust for Cumbria (CTfC) was created in 2008, supported with funding from the North West Development Agency and the National Churches Trust. Its purpose was to assist the county's faith communities to develop partnerships for a secure future. CTfC’s objectives are:
1. To help faith communities develop a vision linked to wider community plans, which puts churches at the hub of the community, with greater use of their buildings for faith-based and other activities.
2. To encourage partnership and community engagement linking local individuals, community groups, businesses and public sector organisations with churches.
3. To maximise the resources available to repair, maintain and develop church buildings in Cumbria; to help ensure those resources are used efficiently; and to target new funding where it will be most effective.
4. To support those responsible for managing churches, particularly through training and sharing of information and best practice.
5. To help churches fulfil their potential as part of Cumbria's cultural offer whilst doing justice to their historic and religious roots; to enhance the experience of visitors to churches; and to increase contributions by visitors towards the upkeep of churches.
Unlike most counties, Cumbria has never had a Historic Churches Trust. CTfC fills that gap, but also takes a new approach to supporting faith communities. This new approach recognises and values the contribution that church buildings and church communities make to society in Cumbria, beyond their core purpose as places of worship. A website provides information for those responsible for maintaining and improving church buildings. The Trust also undertakes consultancy to assist church communities in developing a long term vision for the use of their assets with the support of local people. This has led to one of the most innovative projects undertaken by the Trust: the Church Buildings Strategic Review, which was run as a pilot in two geographical areas – each loosely based on a deanery – involving all Anglican and Methodist sites. It is now being rolled out across the remainder of the county.
CTfC organises and publicises training and events for those caring for church buildings and seeks to develop partnerships with organisations to involve churches in positive economic, environmental and social change in Cumbria. CTfC is a secular organisation able to support all faith communities, but recognises that over 99% of places of worship in Cumbria are Christian.
Directors: Gina Dowding/Nigel Robson, Churches Trust for Cumbria, c/o Church House, West Walls, Carlisle, CA3 8UE. Tel: 07501 469374