Financial Briefing to the Parish & Chaplaincy

This time last year I was reporting on a financially stable year. However, this year has been more challenging with our balances predicted to be at their lowest level for some years.

We are not in serious trouble and your generosity continues at its usual high level. The issue is that we have had a year of unusually high expenditure in maintaining the fabric of our beautiful church.

I think it is worth looking at the major items:

  • Boundary wall  £25K 
  • Electrical Repairs £5K
  • Passage Lights Upgrade £5K
  • Drains Repair £4K
  • New Sound System £2K


Within the last few days we have been notified that the cost of upgrading the Presbytery Fire Alarm system for multi occupancy will be at least £10K.

This upgrade is a mandatory requirement if we are able to continue having visiting priests and religious to live in the presbytery and be part of our community.

This gives a total of £51K and it is this which has depleted our balances to the predicted level of £14K in the current account and £30K in our deposit account. In our experience the age and condition of our church and the possible need for urgent repairs requires that these predicted balances are the minimum acceptable level. The balances I reported a year ago were £22K and £63K respectively, this is a drop of £41K.

In addition we have one big project waiting in the wings. This is the repair to the presbytery stonework, this will be a six-figure sum, a challenge for future years.

In the year ahead we need to rebuild our balances and develop a strategy to raise the £100K for the stonework. I know we can depend on your continued generosity and a special thanks to those of you in the Gift Aid scheme. This raised nearly £10k in the last year. If you are a taxpayer and have not joined the scheme I would encourage you to do so – it is not too bureaucratic and all personal date is protected. Please see Andy Doyle or check our website to see how to join.

In addition, if you have a standing order with the Parish it may be worthwhile doing a review to see if it has been devalued in any way by inflation over the years.

In these exceptional circumstances I now have a special appeal to the student body.

The University Chaplaincy receives a grant of £12K per year from the Diocese and the Chaplaincy benefits from sharing the church buildings with St Cuthbert’s Parish. This allows us to offer excellent facilities to students, and to foster a lively and vibrant chaplaincy community. However, because of the exceptional costs we are now facing, we have to ask the student body to make their contribution to the community’s finances too. Please think about how much you benefit from the chaplaincy’s facilities, what you currently contribute at Sunday Mass, and whether you could increase your contribution and perhaps make it more regular- or even set up a standing order.

In conclusion, the year ahead will present us with continuing financial challenges and we must restore our cash balances to a more acceptable level. I feel sure that your generosity will see us through.

John Marsland

Chairman of the Parish Finance Council

November 2019

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