Basil Eastwood, Chairman of the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust

BY THE time you read this, you will be very well aware of the amount of activity in the city this weekend regarding distinguished historic buildings.

The two days of Open Doors attract thousands of people, intrigued to see inside the wealth of ancient bricks, stone and mortar we may live among.

A fair number seen over the last couple of days were religious buildings, the majority Christian, of all denominations.

All historic buildings need constant care to see that developing problems do not cause deterioration and further trouble.

Repairs need to be made professionally, and facilities for their current use have to be installed in an appropriate way.

Churches open for public worship do not usually have the resources available to other historic buildings; money has to be raised by the congregation.

The Oxford Historic Churches Trust (OHCT) exists to raise funds to give churches and chapels the means to do what needs to be done; some lively city centre churches have large congregations which have no difficulty raising the required sums – for example, St Andrew’s, Linton Road, where the congregation has recently given the sum of £2.5m for a much-needed new extension.

But there are also many places of worship with tiny, elderly congregations who really struggle to keep the roof on and the place warm, with facilities for the church to be used by the local community, such as loos, a catering unit, new paint and chairs when needed.

Other churches are in deprived areas where few worshippers are able to contribute.

This is where the trust comes in, with representatives in each area of the Diocese of Oxford. One of these areas is the city.

Each of the 55 churches and chapels can apply to the trust for a grant, which is often an encouragement to other grant-making bodies to contribute.

You are welcome to join us; you can become a member via our website – we have a great programme of lectures and visits.