Tips for other churches

“Wish we’d known all this before starting our Restoration Projects…”


These are the most important part of a Project to the funder, National Lottery.

  1. The New Brighton Memory Project used multiple sub-activities (contact-free) to collect memories and build up partners after the pandemic isolation:
    1. Be persistent and don’t be easily discouraged. If you are contacting local organisations to ask for their support for your project you will have many rejections. If you make 10 phone calls and get one positive response it’s still a success!
    2. Even when your project has started, continue to look for ways in which it could be enhanced or extended. For example, a chance meeting with a group of students from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts half way through our project led to interesting collaboration and mutual benefit.
    3. Get to know your partners, make sure that you know the first names of their key personnel and maintain regular contact with them. This is especially important if unforeseen problems arise, such as the delays caused by Covid. We contacted our partners every month throughout the pandemic.
    4. Give your partners gifts to make the project worth their while making the effort. We delivered flowers to our three partner Care Homes at Christmas time and gave all partners an A3 Calendar of heritage photos free-of-charge keeping them engaged with the project, explaining how to submit memories digitally and even advertising the Organ Recital Heritage Talks. 
    5. We should have put the National Lottery Heritage Fund Logo on every page of the calendar, and a thumbnail of the church, not just front and back.
  2. Use local where you can to help the local economy, and local businesses are more likely to give a local charity a decent discount.
  3. Memory Postboxes and Postcards were an overwhelming success and easy for another church to copy!
    1. They were a wonderful advert for the opening times of the church to invite a visit and also engage with the heritage of New Brighton. And they all acknowledge our funder.
    2. The pictures on the postcards are heritage photos of New Brighton, with only a few of the church which has actually encouraged people to come and visit the church, even if they are not religious.
    3. Copyright: You can’t just take images from the internet. Most will be too low resolution for printing, and photographers will get upset… it’s against copyright law!
    4. Fortunately, New Brighton Heritage Centre gave us over 200 images, copyright free. (We counted this as a NON-CASH InKind contribution). Not all these images were of good enough resolution for our graphic designer to use, and some of them had to be cleaned up.
    5. Use your budget to pay for copyright licence to get a variety of images to spark conversation and engage in heritage. We did have some money in the budget to buy some copyright licences (the most expensive being Gerry Marsden on the Mersey Ferry).
    6. Ask local photographers to donate licences. 
    7. Collect feedback and photos from everyone taking part for your evaluations.
    8. Use social media to engage the younger audience. We had a Facebook Group linked to the Memory Project with 151 members so that people could engage and submit memories.


  1. Heritage Talks: We made 4 Heritage Talk Films and 10 x live-streamed Organ Recital Heritage Talks with detailed programme notes for each, which were uploaded onto YouTube and our website. We found that filming is more difficult to control than other media.
    1. Know the audience that you are trying to reach before you start. We didn’t do this with the Organ Recital HTs or Liverpool TV films because they were the first engagements we modified, post-pandemic. 
    2. Evaluate each Activity formatively so that you improve and learn as you go. NL want to know what you have learnt!
    3. Choose LOCAL where possible not only to help the local economy, but also it helps you.
      1. Local TV (Freeview Channel 7) may be interested in a news item which is free-of-charge (and so one of your In-Kind non-cash contributions) – but this is more likely if you are already signed up paying them to make films and broadcast. They broadcast on TV to a very wide audience and send you their analytics of engagement.
      2. When film-makers make a film, they may interview an expert (architect or architectural historian) but sometimes, if they don’t understand the subject, they will put an inappropriate picture with the audio (to break up the film) so you have to be very careful. Although Liverpool TV Architect’s film broadcast to a very wide audience, the camera-man lived a few hours drive away so mistakes were difficult to rectify from a distance.
      3. When the  Architectural Historian was filmed for a  Heritage Talk, our volunteer (professional music producer) was local, able to pop into church and take further shots to accompany the film, make it interesting, and work with us. Using an autocue meant that delivery was prepared, slicker and much more professional, even than Liverpool TV!
      4. Organ Recital HT’s broadcast live on YouTube but as an education not a concert. This was a niche market. We carried out formative evaluation after every recital and tried to improve engagement with the heritage. We learnt to:
        1. Use feedback and show people we listen and act on suggestions. People wanted to see more clearly what the organist was doing so we moved the organ to the front and fixed two cameras… on his hands and feet and synchronised this to YouTube.
        2. Change the feedback forms each time to inform people what you have done and evaluate medium and long-term outcomes.
        3. Use Video Teasers to advertise YouTube events.  Using video teasers on social media worked well, improving in-person and online attendance at the next recital, and short enough for people to ‘dip in’.
        4. Use People-Power to distribute publicity wherever your congregation go! 
        5. Print 5000 cheap A5 Flyers online.  These accompanied the Memory Postboxes and congregation posted to their neighbours. 
        6. Use some budget for heating costs to make the church more accessible in the winter.
        7. Always do a head-count… we didn’t for one recital!
        8. Improve the lighting on a dark winter day so that the organist can be seen better (New Lighting Scheme fundraising campaign was a spin off from the National Lottery Project but not in place for the early recitals which were carried out in the ‘bird-cage’ scaffold!)
        9. Split the pieces with explanations/chant to point out the melody before playing each piece and that way people were truly engaging with the cultural heritage.
        10. Improve online sound recording which was ‘out-of-sync’ with the church speakers making a muffled voice explanation.


  1. Proofreading: get your document word perfect before sending it to the graphic designer. Employ a professional proofreader initially because they SEE all inconsistencies, especially if you have more than one contributor. We didn’t do this for our Guide Book but learnt but did with our Reformation Study Guide and it saved us time and hassle.
  2. Learn from your visitors, especially if they are professionals or university students. One of the UCLAN students was really interested in the fine needlework tapestries but we had no documented information – so this prompted a bit of detective work so that it was included in our Guide Book!
  3. You need permission from your funder to use contingency. Scaffolding Tours (suggested by NL as an easy activity during Heritage Open Days), required Health & Safety Report (Pennington Choices funded by Diocese) for permission from the Diocese and Insurance for the general public to climb a dangerous workplace. After research, we discovered that other projects who had carried out Scaffolding Tours hadn’t obtained Insurance and most insurers were very reluctant. Zurich Insurance was able to supply an annual policy and this was funded from Activity Contingency for 2 years. 
  4. Heritage Open Days and EventBrite are good to use and ‘free’ publicity for free-of-charge events. Remember to include them in your ‘In-Kind Non-Cash contributions’ as part of your match-funding contributions.
  5. Publicity:
    1. Take photos of everything you do for your records and add it to your Activity Summary for your Progress Report. 
    2. Establish a good relationship with your local newspaper. Put some business their way eg. media campaign for Wirral Globe for print advert and digital marketing.
    3. Make it really easy for journalists by providing all the information. They  will publish a well written article about your project with high resolution good photos, with people. If you don’t hear back from them, follow it up with a phone call because your email may have gone into their SPAM.
    4. Share any digital articles online on your social media, because your journalist friends will like that.
    5. Try to get your project publicised on local radio. After the first broadcast they may invite you back to discuss the  progress of your project. E.g. Radio Merseyside broadcast 2 interviews about our Memory Project.  Resulting publicity led to an increase in requests to take part.
    6. Local shops and businesses are happy to display posters to support community activities. A wide reaching poster campaign added impetus to our project.
    7. Become a member of a local community group. E.g. Our church is a member of the New Brighton Coastal Community Team run by Wirral Borough Council. This meant that important information about our project was more easily spread via the Team members.
    8. The more you publicise the message, the more the demand will be for your activity. E.g. Care homes talked to other care homes and requested postboxes; bigger venues began requesting to participate when publicised on Radio Merseyside and Wirral Globe. Eg. Demand for Scaffolding Tours publicised on EventBrite, Social Media and HOD’s Wirral and National fully booked, meant we had to run more tours with a waiting list, and only stopped when pandemic restrictions dictated.  

Activity Team

  1. Good Teamwork is essential. There is too much work for one person in a large project like this. 
  2. Share the load and the documents online: we use Google Drive so that one person can produce a document and other Team members can contribute. You can set it so that someone can view/comment/edit. But don’t give editing rights to everyone. Also, someone who edits can make suggestions which the owner can accept or reject.
  3. If you have a delay in proceeding with Activities, as we did with the pandemic, keep in touch with your partners…make it worth their while working with you. It was our team’s monthly contacts which allowed us to proceed with modified activities once restrictions allowed.
  4. Feedback Forms need to be printed with a decent size font. We used Google Forms which we printed  and handed out for each activity, in return for refreshments. (No such thing as a free cuppa!)
  5. Evaluations: Start them immediately after the event because you can remember better, and use them to improve, next event. Keep looking for your  TARGETS, OUTCOMES,and whether you achieve your APPROVED PURPOSES. If you share these documents on Drive with your team, you can all comment.
  6. Legacy: When evaluating, think about legacy and how the activity has strengthened your place in the community and made your organisation more resilient.
  7. Activity Budget:
    1. Save money by always asking any supplier if they can provide it cheaper for your charity. Eg1. phoned Boards Direct because prices had increased for noticeboards and they gave 5% off for the project. Eg2. LT Print Group reduced the price for the calendars and then the foamboards for the exhibitions. Eg3 Morrisons and M&S reduced cost for Volunteer Thank You Event
    2. This also becomes an IN-KIND NON-CASH contribution which must be documented and reported to the National Lottery.
    3. Use a spreadsheet to add up all the Volunteer and Non-Cash contributions (google sheets or excel)
    4. Volunteering can be un-skilled, skilled or professional. NL costs this as part of your match-funding contribution at £6.25/£18.75/£43.75 respectively. You have to record the time your volunteers spend. You can only count the hours people spend working on the project and report this in your Progress Reports. Please check this with National Lottery for any new project because we understand that this way of measuring the volunteer contribution is under review.
    5. Cost Heading: Be careful in your planning which you use for your activities. They become pots of money that can’t be easily transferred to another pot. And you definitely can’t transfer your activity budget to the capital works.


Capital works

Although very important to restoring your building, these are much less important to the National Lottery.

  1. Quite often, you don’t know the extent of the work needed until the appointed contractor opens up. Extra works we needed to do with the scaffolding in place (that we funded ourselves) included increased concrete repair, relining dome gutter, extra re-pointing, additional glazing, paint analysis, full redecoration and lighting schemes.
  2. Budget management: Don’t forget increased capital works means increased professional fees too, for architect, quantity surveyor, CDM coordinator, structural engineer. So even if you get a quote for the increased work from the contractor, you have to add another 13%.
  3. Budget management: Be careful which Cost Headings (National Lottery) you divide your capital budget into… contractors generally don’t give you separate invoices for Repair & Conservation/New Building Work so as you complete your Payment Requests, the figures don’t agree. 
  4. We used the Cost Heading Other Capital Works for Contingency.  National Lottery have to agree that this can be used.
  5. Talk to funders: You may need to fundraise from other funding streams to be able to afford everything. This all takes time, but it is worth making contact with the funder, either by phone or face-to-face (eg. Emily Hine from NCT visited and advised for a Foundation Grant for the Clerestory windows).
  6. Good communication is most important: At Site Meetings (contractor and design team), keep them ‘sweet’ with decent refreshments, and develop a good relationship so that if there is a problem, you can approach them easily.
  7. Permissions:
    1. Consult your Diocese for any permissions in advance. Historic Churches Committee (HCC) give Faculty Permissions but you also need to consult the HERITAGE, ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE COMMITTEE who are also members of the HCC. 
    2. When support is needed for permissions, get expert advice. Sophie Andreae of the Patrimony Committee of the Bishop’s Conference has advised on which eminent experts to consult.
  8. Pay invoices promptly
  9. Photographic record:
    1. Take photos of everything to be able to report to funders – have some photos with people engaging with the heritage as well but
    2. Collect photos from your architect and the contractor.
    3. Put photos on your website as you go – get a volunteer to be responsible for this, so that you can easily chart your progress.
    4. Add photos and dates when things happen to an Activity Summary Document as you go, so that Progress Reports aren’t so difficult to do when your deadline approaches. 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Please attribute as The New Brighton Memory Project 2022 supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund Licence under CC BY NC