The House of Good

Churches are so much more than places of worship

From foodbanks to credit unions, churches across the UK provide a growing list of essential services for people in urgent need.

We’ve long seen the power of churches to bring communities together and help them thrive. But we’ve never been able to measure it.

For the very first time, our House of Good report quantifies the economic and social value of all church buildings to the UK. Not just the bricks and mortar but the welfare and wellbeing they create in our communities.

In 2020, our ground-breaking report demonstrated that the total economic and social value that church buildings generate in the UK is at least £12.4 billion per year which averages around £300,000 per church. That is roughly equal to the total NHS spending on mental health in England in 2018.

But our latest 2021 research now shows that the annual social and economic value of church buildings to the UK is worth around £55 billion. This sum, calculated using the latest HM Treasury Green Book guidance, includes the contribution churches make to wellbeing and to local economies.

We believe that these findings are remarkable. They show that our churches are not just Houses of God. They are also Houses of Good – good that we risk losing if church buildings are not kept in good repair, and may never be able to replace.

The impact of COVID-19 has made the social value of churches even more relevant.

Church buildings are the ‘key places’ where we will start to rebuild our communities.

We need to protect these vital life-changing buildings now and for future generations.

The Value of Churches

The House of Good calculates six key stages or circles of value. We call this the ‘Halo Effect’.

The ‘Halo Effect’ moves from the direct economic value of church buildings to the more widespread benefits to individuals and society.

We all value the UK’s churches and chapels as being some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the world and as places of worship.

Together, churches provide the social glue that keeps our communities together, and the safety net that stops our most vulnerable people falling through the cracks.

Funding church buildings is a fantastic investment.

When you invest £10 in church buildings, this creates a return of at least £37.40 and this is the most conservative cost benefit analysis.

Right now our church buildings are in danger and if they are in danger so are our most underprivileged communities.

It has never been more important for this contribution to be understood and to know what our church buildings are truly worth to the UK and what we all stand to lose if we let them crumble.

Hear what the churches say

St Stephen’s, Bradford

“A local church is committed to its community always.”

Sacred Heart, Tamworth

“It’s just nice to help people who really need it.”

Holy Trinity, Hull

“It takes a lot to keep a church open”

Support the UK’s Houses of Good

There is no long-term strategic local or government funding to help church buildings stay open and in good repair.

Each year, the National Churches Trust gives up to £1.5m in grants to help keep church buildings open. Each year we typically can only fund 1 in 4 of the churches that come to us for help.

Please help us to say yes to more Houses of Good, ensuring that they can continue to support their communities.

Become a Friend of the National Churches Trust now.

Read the full story

Until now, no evaluation has been undertaken into the wellbeing benefits created by the activities and support taking place in church buildings.

In 2019, we commissioned social impact and value specialists State of Life to quantify the economic and social value of all church buildings to the UK.

The House of Good report follows the approach of HM Treasury’s Green Book. In line with the Green Book, the evaluation is divided into market and non-market value (also called social value). This breaks down into six key stages – or circles of value – for analysis.

Get involved in The House of Good

Houses of Good need your help. This report is the start of a bigger conversation and a realisation of what churches actually do. Share the report, use its findings and keep in touch with us. Together, we can provide these buildings with the support they need to ensure they can continue to be open and welcoming for everyone.

Tell your story

We want to hear from you about the good that your church is doing across your community.

Join our Facebook group

Tweet your House of Good stories using the hashtags #HouseOfGood #NationalHelpService #DoingGoodWorks

Share your value

Please use this report to show local authorities and potential funders how much value your House of Good brings to your community, and what a fantastic return on investment it represents.

Stay connected

Sign up for our e-newsletter and find us on social media to see more about how we’re saving the UK’s Houses of Good.

For people who love church buildings