(The banner image is taken from the report)

In 2019 the National Churches Trust commissioned social impact and value specialists State of Life to quantify the economic and social value of all church buildings in the UK. Not the bricks and mortar but the welfare and wellbeing they create in our communities. 

Its report 'The House of Good' has concluded that church buildings (churches, chapels and meeting houses) create £12.4 billion in value per year.

This figure includes the market value of the events and activities that take place inside church buildings. It also includes impacts that are harder to measure - such as the huge wellbeing benefit from the different activities and services provided inside church buildings. Together these circles of value enrich our communities and improve lives in many quantifiable ways. This is called the Halo Effect. 

For every £10 invested in church buildings this creates a return of at least £37.40 and other wellbeing valuation methods show a social return on investment of up to £181 for every £10 invested.

Here is the breakdown of the benefits:

£2.4 billion per year: market value and replacement cost.

  • £1.4 billion - the direct economic value created by the running, staffing and hiring out of church buildings.
  • £200 million - the replacement cost of social and community services, like food banks, youth groups, mental health services.
  • £850 million - the replacement cost of volunteers' time.

£10 billion per year: non-market (social and wellbeing) value.

  • £165 million - the wellbeing value to volunteers.
  • £8.3 billion - the wellbeing value to the people who benefit from social and community services.
  • £1.4 billion - the wellbeing value of attending church services

More than houses of God

Church buildings host many different community organisations and services - including drug and alcohol support groups, mental health and counselling services, youth clubs, after school care and credit unions, among other valuable services. Churches have also been pivotal in setting up and running food banks and there are now more food banks than McDonalds in the UK.

But church buildings are at risk and they are most at risk where the need is greatest in the most deprived areas where church buildings are most likely to struggle for funds and face closure. 

Covid-19

During the first wave of the pandemic 89% of churches rapidly re-purposed their efforts to help communities through the first few months in the form of online worship, to delivering shopping to delivering shopping to isolated or vulnerable people and making telephone calls to those who were lonely.

Churches are facing an urgent funding crisis

If you church is facing financial difficulties and you are applying for grants and funding you may like to use statistics from the report in your application to show how much value you bring to your community and the return on investment that this represents. 

See here: for The full technical report (68 pages).

A shortened version (36 pages) is also provided.

More information can also be found on the National Churches Trust website