THOUSANDS of pounds are set to be plunged into south Essex’s crumbling churches in a bid to help with repairs.

In total, £42 million is set to be delivered in a new government grant to churches struggling with repairs costs.

But many crumbling churches claim the grants “won’t make much of a dent.”

The listed places of worship grant is set to be delivered to nearly 5,000 churches across the UK, funding aimed at going towards supporting the conservation of buildings.

Recipients of the grant include St Mary’s church in Prittlewell, set to receive £11,665, Church of Holy Cross, Basildon, which will receive £7,517 and St Catherine, Wickford, set to receive £3,321.

St Catherine’s church rector, Jonathan Evens, said: “We are incredibly grateful for all donations, whether they are from the local community or from grants and trusts, its all incredibly helpful as there are considerable costs.

“St Catherine’s is on clay soil and the soil dried out in summer 2022, that caused large cracks in the west end of the building.

“Over this year, we have spent £20,000 making the building safe. We raised the majority this year. We are moving to phase two to do groundwork investigations and on the back of that, structural engineers will have a way to underpin the building.

“It’s coming at a big time because we are about to launch phase two of our fundraising campaign, aiming for £15,000 for phase two of groundwork construction. Phase three will be hugely expensive and we have no idea what those costs could be.”

All Saint’s Church vicar, William Paxton, said: “We have constant repairs going on. Something could be done with the roof. There are aspects which, if not addressed in the near future, will need really major work.

“The failing heating system at the present time means any money is welcome, but £2,000 won’t make much of a dent.

“There are so many churches and so many issues. We’ve largely paid for everything ourselves because we are not a listed building, we are limited. We put in new lighting and paid for that ourselves. That was seven years ago.”