A HISTORIC Bradford church is among 17 churches from across Yorkshire celebrating after being awarded a grant from Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT) for essential repairs and maintenance works.

The future of many churches is under threat due to crumbling roofs, windows and stonework and the YHCT works to ensure these places of worship are kept in good repair, recognising the contribution they make to society at large and the support they provide to local communities, especially during the ongoing Covid crisis.

The funding provides a lifeline to places of worship from the Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic and Quaker denominations.

Among the 17 recipients include St Joseph’s Catholic Church (£3,000 for roof repairs), Parkington Street, Bradford, St James the Great Church (£3,000 for masonry and roof repairs) in Pudsey, St John Church (£4,000 towards roof replacement) in Menston and the Airton Quaker Meeting House (£5,000 for fabric repairs) in rural Malhamdale.

"It's fantastic because we do have a lot of things that need doing," said the Reverend Father Christopher Angel, of St Joseph's Catholic Church. "It will supplement a bit of work we've been doing above the pipe organ, making us watertight and protecting that valuable instrument. It's a very costly but beautiful instrument that can't just be moved out of the way from drips of rain.

"The significance of having a church to come to was highlighted during Covid. When we were allowed to reopen we had someone burst into tears of joy. Church is designed to help our spiritual wellbeing but it's also important for our mental health.

"St Joseph's has been here for 135 years and so many generations of people have memories of weddings, baptisms or other events in this place.

"These buildings are important to Bradford culturally. It was built by an Irish labour force that came here at the time, so it's also important to history of Bradford. While mills and other buildings around it have closed over the years, the church has stayed still."

He said the church is just getting started on £200,000 worth of repairs that need to be carried out, so the grant is very welcome.

"We've been talking with architects and surveyors for a few years, and a we were going to get cracking but then Covid hit," he added. "The majority of the work is structural and is designed to make the building safe."