Places of worship occupy a special place in the historic environment of Wales. Many are fine buildings. No less than 3,000 places of worship are listed — including 214 at grade I — which demonstrates their architectural and historic significance. But the quality of their architecture and craftsmanship also reflects their importance in cultural life across Wales over centuries.
However, the sustainability of our historic places of worship across Wales is currently under threat for a number of reasons, including dwindling congregations, a reluctance to consider future options or the capacity to take them forward. At the moment, approximately 10 per cent of listed places of worship are at risk or vulnerable. Without intervention, this figure is likely to rise as more buildings fall out of regular use and the resources available to care for them diminish.
The aim of this strategic action plan, therefore, is to find ways in which these cherished buildings can retain or renew their value at the heart of Welsh communities, with their significance sustained or enhanced. The plan should help support the management of change so that it is responsive to the breadth of value that buildings may have and allows a full range of options to be considered when identifying appropriate arrangements for future use and care. To this end, the focus of the action plan is on people and communities using, enjoying and looking after our historic places of worship.