The challenges of Covid-19 have not deterred the Diocese of York from ensuring its churches have the means to protect themselves from the very real issue of metal theft.
Since the alarm installations, lead thefts in the diocese have reduced from a few per month between 2018 and 2020, to just a handful since the alarms have been introduced.
Lead theft has an impact on the whole community and so the installation of these systems has been a warm welcome of reassurance to the communities who value what is usually the oldest building/s within their village or town.
Roof Alarm Block Grants to dioceses and historic churches trusts are no longer available. However, Benefact Trust is awarding grants directly to churches to protect them from metal theft.
The Roof Protection Scheme is running until the end of 2021 and the amount of funding available has increased - up to 50% of the cost of the alarm and a Maximum of £2,500.
"It has only been six months since we had a roof alarm fitted at Selby Abbey. It has certainly helped to reduce our anxiety over the possibility of criminal damage to the Abbey and its potential costs - not only in terms of the major worry of lead theft but also break-ins as a result of gaining access via the roof (such as we had earlier last year). I would strongly recommend that all churches that don't have this sort of protection give it serious consideration."The Revd Canon John Weetman, Selby Abbey
"The new alarm system has been a huge leap forward in protecting the beautiful church of St Mary's, Sledmere following two previous lead thefts. There has been a collective sigh of relief from the church Wardens, clergy, parishioners and villagers alike that their church is now secure and peace of mind has been restored.”Lynne Curtin - Sledmere, St Mary