Through our work at the National Churches Trust, we know that communities in the UK care greatly for their churches, but that they often need help to maintain a building with specific and expensive needs.

An important part of our work is to understand the issues behind these needs and so, from mid-April 2010, I warmly invite everyone with responsibility for a church building in the UK to spend a short while filling in a new online survey.

The National Churches Trust, formerly the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, is the only national, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK, of which there are an estimated 47,000. We are independent of government and church authorities, giving grants, raising funds and offering practical assistance to churches, chapels and meeting houses of historic, architectural and community value.

In tailoring our support to the needs of the great variety of churches and communities in the UK, we are seeking to build as full a picture as possible of the church landscape: for example, the many ways that churches are managed, how they are funded, the various ways they are used, the challenges in caring for them, and the different issues faced by rural and urban churches.

The National Churches Trust Survey 2010 seeks to include buildings of every Christian denomination, of all ages and conditions, to understand how they are maintained, repaired, funded and used by their local communities. It will aim to create a national picture of the current status of these places of worship. I would like to encourage as many as possible to visit from mid-April.

Andrew Edwards, ceo of the National Churches Trust