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Church buildings 'in poor state'

Church buildings play a key role in supporting community activities, according to a new survey.

Nearly half of the UK's church buildings are used for arts, music and dance activities, while over 40% facilitate support services for issues including homelessness, drug and alcohol misuse, debt and mental health.

The venues provided around one-sixth of the total number of polling stations at last year's general election, while some 1.4 million members of congregations volunteer in their church buildings.

But according to the poll, carried out by the National Churches Trust, 8% of the buildings are in a poor or very poor condition, and urgent repairs cost an average of £80,000.

Andrew Edwards, chief executive of the Trust, said: "Voluntary action that takes place locally often needs a physical space in which to happen, and it is clear that church buildings help fill that need.

"However, the survey also reveals these buildings' repair and maintenance needs, which can pose great challenges to those tasked with their care.

"Good maintenance practice is fundamental and the evidence of the survey backs our assertion that formal maintenance plans are essential."

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From Belfast Telegraph