Church buildings have been a constant feature in our landscape and we recognise that they are valued for a variety of reasons, not only as places of worship but as buildings of architectural, cultural and historical significance. We aim to support churches and their communities to encourage the sustainable use of church buildings to help keep these unique buildings alive.

The Churches Trust for Cumbria (CTfC) was formed in 2008 as a charitable trust to help secure a sustainable future for Cumbria’s churches.

In 2010 it became clear that many church communities were struggling to fund their ministry and their buildings. In order to assess Cumbria’s churches an ecumenical buildings survey was conducted over 2012 and 2013. Despite the trust going into a period of hibernation in 2013, the Churches Trust Buildings Survey Report was published in 2015. The survey revealed that a significant number of buildings are in need of help. In July 2016 the trust came out of hibernation to provide external support for the care, conservation and development of church buildings across Cumbria.

How we work


Advice, resources and links to provide core information for those responsible for maintaining and improving church buildings.


Where feasible we will assist church communities in developing a long term vision for the use of their assets with the support of local people.

Training & Events

We organise and publicise our own and other agencies’ training for those caring for church buildings.


We seek to develop partnerships and facilitate the sharing of information to encourage churches in positive economic, environmental and social change in Cumbria.

We are an independent organisation able to support all faith communities. We do, however, recognise that over 99% of places of worship in Cumbria are Christian.

Who we are

CTfC is governed by a board of Trustees.
The organisation is managed on a day to day by a part-time Development Officer who works from home and is mobile across Cumbria.

Adam Naylor (Chairman)

Adam Naylor, our Chairman, has an M.A. and Ph.D in history from Edinburgh University where he also taught. Since 1977, he has been the proprietor of ‘Bookfare’, a secondhand and antiquarian book business. In 1992, he returned to Cumbria, where he was born, to manage the family’s agricultural estate near Windermere. Adam served as Chairman of the Lakeland Arts Trust for fourteen years and developed ‘Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House’ as a tourist attraction. High Sheriff of Cumbria from 2005-2006, Adam remains actively involved in voluntary roles within the local and county community.

Claire Hensman

Claire Hensman, originally from  a medical family in Somerset, had a short career in Investment Management in the City. Married to Peter, they moved to Cumbria in the ‘80s where as housewife and mother she volunteered widely, mostly trustee/directorships: outdoor centres for disabled people, the NHS and higher education  (Lancaster and Cumbria universities) and a prisoner literacy scheme. She has long been involved with her local church and Carlisle Cathedral in a financial capacity.  She was High Sheriff in 2007/8 and retired as HM Lord-Lieutenant of Cumbria in 2023.

Jim Irving

Jim Irving is a retired Police Superintendent and Management Consultant and former District Property Secretary for the Cumbria Methodist District. He was the co-chair of a National Methodist Working Group dealing with the introduction of Consent Giving, a project designed to computerise the administration of Building Schemes in the Methodist Connexion. Formerly, the North West and North Wales Regional Secretary of the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officers, he is now a life member of BAPCO.

Richard Rhodes

Well known from his former role as Cumbria’s first Police and Crime Commissioner, Richard graduated with a BA from Durham University, a Dip Ed at Oxford, and began a teaching career during which he was a headmaster for 22 years. Richard has also served 33 years as a Magistrate, was Chair of the Cumbria Probation Trust and a church warden for nine years. Born in Lancashire, Richard now lives in South Lakeland. He is married with two daughters and 5 grandchildren, and in his spare time he enjoys photography, motoring, sport and gardening.

John Martin Robinson

An historian and acclaimed author of over twenty books, and for over 30 years an architectural writer for Country Life magazine. John worked for the Greater London Council Historic Buildings Division from 1974 to 1986. He serves as Maltravers Herald Extraordinary, one of Her Majesty’s Officers of Arms, and is Librarian to the Duke of Norfolk. He is an active member of the Georgian Group, and a partner in Historic Buildings Consultants, founded to assist private property owners and developers get the most out of their architectural heritage and involved in a wide range of prestigious restoration projects.

Tiffany Hunt, MBE

Tiffany was a museum curator in Salisbury before starting at the National Trust. Over 28 years, she held a variety of roles before becoming Director of the Northumbria, Yorkshire and the North West regions. Since retiring, she has undertaken various non- executive and voluntary roles, including being a member of the Lake District National Park Authority, York Minster’s and Cartmel Priory’s Fabric Advisory Committees, a Trustee of the Friends of the Lake District and member of Carlisle DAC. Tiffany now lives in Cartmel in a cottage that looks out onto the magnificent East window of Cartmel Priory.

Juliet Westoll MBE, DL

Juliet was born in Suffolk, and worked in London until she married Richard Westoll, a Cumbrian farmer, in 1981. They have two children and five grandchildren. Juliet has championed and continues to support many local charities. She was awarded an MBE for services to Cumbria in the Queen”s Birthday Honours in 2010; made a Deputy Lieutenant in 2011 and was High Sheriff of Cumbria 2012/2013. Juliet was a committee member for the Carlisle Cathedral Fratry restoration project, and is very involved with her local church, Kirkandrews on Esk.

Nigel Robson (Finance Director)

Nigel, a former lawyer in an international law firm, brings extensive legal, governance, financial, HR, and educational expertise to various organizations. He served as an executive director, before becoming a Trustee in 2015 focusing on Finance. He also holds trustee roles in organisations including St John’s College, Cranmer Hall (Durham University), and Emmanuel Theological College. Additionally, he represents the Diocese in various capacities and was recently co-opted as a trustee to the Diocesan Board of Finance. Nigel has a history of leadership roles in educational institutions and trusts.

Jayne Potts, Development Officer (p/t)

Reponsible for finance, strategic direction of CTfC, liaison with the churches in Cumbria of all denominations, facilitatingResponsible for providing support to churches and their communities to encourage the sustainable use of church buildings across the county. If you need advice in the care, conservation or development of a church project contact jayne@ctfc.org.uk strategic partnerships and volunteer recruitment.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or feel that you have skills that could help the Trust and Trustees in their mission, please do get in touch.