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Ecclesiastical has produced a handy guide for church wardens to refer to over the coming months. Its recommendations fall into three stages – Ready, Steady and Go.
Ready – do the essential buildings maintenance now so that church buildings are resilient to the coming weather. Ecclesiastical advises churches to clear gutters, gullies and drains; check for loose or missing slates or tiles and clear grounds including paths of dead or diseased trees and fallen branches.
Ready also includes understanding the layout of heating and water pipes and for churches to know what to do should pipes become frozen or burst. While flooding is rare for churches, they should have a plan in place for managing floodwater and for moving church contents away from it.
Steady – keep up the maintenance regime over winter. Ecclesiastical advises churches to continue to clear gutters, gullies and drains of leaves and other debris and to keep pathways clear.
Churches should have an action plan in place for people to safely access the church building during icy or snowy weather, i.e. know who and in what way snow and ice is cleared to make paths safe to use.
Churches should keep an eye on weather forecasts and be ready to deploy their action plans should they be threatened with flooding or heavy snow.
Go – Churches should know what urgent action to take when bad weather hits. Even if the worse should happen, Ecclesiastical points out that there are some useful steps to take should a church be impacted by bad weather like gently thawing out frozen pipes, isolating the water flow when there are burst pipes, moving vulnerable contents to higher levels and knowing who to call and what to do and what not to do during a major weather event.
Ecclesiastical’s director of church operations, Michael Angell, said:
“Church wardens and volunteers do an outstanding job of taking care of Norwich churches. We provide guidance every year on winter readiness and resilience. Our guidance this year is a reminder of the essential tasks to complete before winter really takes hold and what to do when the weather threatens or causes damage.”
Matthew McDade, Diocesan Advisory Committee Secretary from the Diocese of Norwich said:
“Taking some relatively simple measures now can make a big difference later on in the season to lessening costly repairs or damage caused by wintry weather. Churches are the centre of many of our communities and though many of them have stood for centuries, we should not be complacent about the need to make them more resilient to the ravages of winter.”
The 'Ready, Steady, Go information guide can be found on the Ecclesiastical website here.