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The aim of the Rectories and Vicarages Trust (RVT) is to find ways for parsonages and other Church of England buildings (except churches) no longer in benefice use to be saved for Church and community. If these vital assets can be retained, not only can the capital invested in them grow but they can be used as a continuing source of income for the benefit of the Church.

The RVT also believes that the Church of England can only thrive as an institution if it retains its visibility through its fine legacy of buildings.

The constitution of the RVT therefore has as its objects the recognition of the importance of the role of Church buildings, and the provision of assistance for the Church to retain, use, value and maintain them for the mission of the Church and the benefit of the community, and in these ways, to facilitate the mission of the Church.

To carry out its objects, it may act as intermediary between the Church and other bodies, as agent for either, in identifying suitable houses and arranging for provision of repair or maintenance, and for provision of funding, whether from its own resources or via third parties.

The RVT was set up in recognition that the policy of the Church is to sell off houses it deems redundant, rather than to retain them and let them out. It recognises that the Church has thereby lost not only fine capital assets but valuable income as a result of that policy. For example, the rough figure of 8,000 parsonages sold off since the war would now conservatively be worth about £4 billion, a sum that would yield a substantial letting income.

The RVT is primarily a facilitator and therefore a service provider, but with power to raise funds, to be used as grants or loans for the purchase or improvement of buildings, conditional on any approved works being undertaken, or even to purchase or lease houses for use in the most appropriate and effective way to ensure their continuing service. Preference is given to use for purposes as close as possible to their intended use, as parsonages or as retreat houses, or for parish or diocesan meetings or conferences; for lettings to secure income; or where necessary for uses such as village or community centres, or holiday lettings. Purchased houses may be available for resale to Church bodies. Funds may be used for the maintenance of houses, or for assistance with outgoings, or for assisting other trusts or bodies to purchase or create trusts to purchase houses with a view to saving them or facilitating their use in a sympathetic way.

To facilitate its stated objectives the RVT has a management committee which meets on a regular basis to discuss strategy and projects.

The RVT welcomes all offers of expertise and ideas. It also seeks a volunteer for the post of Media Relations Officer. Please contact us by email at ajsjennings@hotmail.com or write to Anthony Jennings at Flat Z, 12-18 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3QA.