18 November 2016, The Tablet

Churches receive lion’s share of funding for security measures after rise in hate crime threatens freedom of worship

It is believed that many more churches than mosques applied for the support after increasing levels of crime

The Government has said that its first tranche of funding for the protection of places of worship will predominantly go to Christian churches.

The Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced yesterday that 45 of the 59 religious buildings being awarded a share of the £405,000 grant for security measures including CCTV and protective fencing, are churches.

Only 12 mosques and one Hindu temple are receiving support from the initiative which is part of the Government’s hate crime action plan: a three-year programme of funding that churches can apply for if they can prove they have been subject to a hate-based attack.

The statement came after Ms Rudd and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid met with faith leaders on Wednesday.

It is believed that many more churches than mosques applied for the support after increasing levels of crime.

The Home Secretary said the fund to secure places of worship would “help protect a cross-section of faiths from attack”.

Mr Javid added: “If we are truly to build a country that works for everyone, people of different faiths should be free to worship without fear of prejudice or attack.”

The funding is the first part of a £2.4m allocation announced by Prime Minister Theresa May in July shortly after Fr Jacques Hamel was murdered by Islamic terrorists in his church in Rouen, France.

The next wave of funding will be open to applications from April 2017. Churches must provide supporting evidence of attacks, such as police reports, records of incidents and insurance claims. They must also be willing to contribute 20 per cent of the total costs.

In addition to the security funding, May is also this year allocating a separate £300,000 for projects that will tackle specific types of hate crime. Both amounts of funding were launched by the Home Secretary alongside the Government’s hate crime action plan in July.

Christianity Reaching Inner City Birmingham is among the nine projects that will receive awards of between £24,000 and £50,000. Others include Stop Hate UK in Cardiff, a project to support young transgender people, and the Eastern European Resource Centre – to support Polish and Romanian nationals dealing with hate crime incidents in London.

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