Protesters at Christ Church in Hampstead
• AS with Christ Church in Hampstead (“Last Affordable Nursery” Forced to Leave by Church Owners, May 5)many churches across the country provide massive social support to people and communities across the UK.
We calculate in our The house of good report that the value of this economic and social asset is worth more than £50 billion a year.
Churches house nativity scenes as they are well-known local buildings. They can also offer their premises at a reasonable price, since they are not looking to make a profit. Any income they earn helps keep the church open and in good repair.
However, keeping churches open and in good repair is a costly business. Over the next five years, the Church of England alone estimated that it faced a repair and maintenance bill for its parish churches of over £1 billion.
The next few years will be decisive for many churches. To ensure that as many as possible remain open and benefit our society, a coordinated approach to funding church buildings involving church leaders, heritage bodies, local and central government and funders philanthropy, is urgently needed.
Investing in churches as a vital network of support for those in need is an essential step in addressing inequality and improving the lives of millions of our fellow citizens.
National Churches Trust
7 Tufton Street