Coronavirus related Legislation:
Briefing for churches in Wales

Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this information, but it should not be relied upon for the purposes of legal advice.

Regulations for places of worship in Wales from August 7 2021 (Level 0 restrictions)

Scroll down for Covid pass regulations (applicable from October 11 2021)

Here is Welsh Government’s summary of what Level 0 means (emphasis by Cytun)
At Alert Level Zero, from 7 August 2021, there are no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events. In addition all businesses and premises may be open.
However, we have not yet reached a position where we can remove all protections and – in line with the latest scientific and public health advice – we are keeping some key rules in place in law. In these respects collective responsibility is needed rather than personal choice.
1.         Businesses, employers and other organisations must continue to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to, and the spread of, coronavirus.
2.         Everyone must continue to self-isolate for 10 days if they test positive for COVID-19.  If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and you are aged 18 or over and not fully vaccinated, you must also self-isolate for 10 days.
3.         Adults and children over 12 must continue to wear face-coverings  in indoor public places, with the exception of hospitality settings such as restaurants, pubs, cafes or nightclubs.

In the light of point 1, Welsh Government has published detailed guidance regarding drawing up a risk assessment and the reasonable measures which may be taken and an ‘action card’ with more specific information for places of worship. These include helpful information about how the virus is spread and draws attention to activities which are particularly risky – such as singing. The general guidance ends with 11 basic questions to be asked as specific risk assessments are drawn up. Clause 18 of the regulations places a duty on the ‘person’ responsible for the premises to have regard to this guidance (and other relevant Government guidance – see below). It is important, therefore, that the ‘person’ responsible for a place of worship (or any other venue open to the public) reads this guidance carefully.
Responsibility for drawing up the risk assessment lies with the appropriate authority for each place of worship or activity – denominational arrangements vary, but in general it is the body responsible for other aspects of health and safety with regard to the particular place of worship or activity concerned who will carry the responsibility to prepare a Covid risk assessment.

The full text of the Public Health (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations, as amended, can be read here.

According to clause 16 of the regulations, in the context of COVID-19 the principal additional legal duty of the ‘person’ (which can be a body such as a PCC or deacons’ meeting) responsible for the building is to:

Step 1
Undertake a specific assessment of the risk of exposure to coronavirus at the premises, and in doing so consult persons working on the premises or representatives of those persons.
[See section on ‘Risk assessments’ below for further details]
Step 2
Provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus, including information to those working at the premises about the risk of exposure to coronavirus identified under the assessment undertaken under Step 1, and the measures to be taken under Step 3 to minimise the risk.

Step 3
Take reasonable measures to mitigate the risk of exposure to coronavirus that arises where persons gather on the premises, such as—
(a) seeking to prevent the following persons from being present at the premises—

(i) any person who has tested positive for coronavirus in the previous 10 days,
(ii) any person who has had close contact in the previous 10 days with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus,

(iii) any person experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19;
(b) ensuring that persons gathering at the premises gather outdoors where this is practicable;
(c) limiting close physical interaction between persons on the premises, in particular face-to-face interaction, for example by—

(i) changing the layout of premises including the location of furniture and workstations;
(ii) controlling the use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts;
(iii) controlling the use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens;
(iv) otherwise controlling the use of, or access to, any other part of the premises;
(v) installing barriers or screens;
(d) limiting the duration of time for which persons may be present on the premises;
(e) seeking to ensure that the premises are well ventilated;
(f) maintaining good hygiene on the premises;
(g) providing or requiring use of personal protective equipment.

[Sub-paragraph (2) deleted]
(3) Measures that may be taken under paragraph (1) include—
(a) not carrying out certain activities;
(b) closing a part of the premises;
(c) allowing and enabling a person who ordinarily works at the premises to isolate due to testing positive for coronavirus or having had close contact with somebody who has tested positive, for a period—
(i) recommended in guidance published by the Welsh Ministers;
(ii) specified in a notification given to the person by a contact tracer;
(d) collecting contact information from each person at the premises and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing it to any of the following, upon their request—
(i) the Welsh Ministers;
(ii) a contact tracer;
(e) taking reasonable measures to ensure that such contact information is correct.

There are, of course, other legal requirements – such as general health and safety, safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, data protection, and so on – which remain in force also, and they should not be forgotten when making arrangements to worship or hold other activities.

There is no upper limit on the numbers who may attend an act of worship, indoors or out of doors – each place of worship should calculate a safe maximum within the Regulations above and enact it. This is the case whether or not the building is owned by a faith community.

Organised outdoor activities for adults can take place for any number of people of any age. It is essential to conduct a full risk assessment for outdoor activities.

Face coverings

It is a requirement under Clause 20 of the Regulations for all those aged over 11 to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, including places of worship, unless they have an illness or disability which prevents that. On August 27, Regulation 20(2)(aa) was added, meaning that it is not necessary for those attending marriage, civil partnership or “an alternative wedding ceremony” (such as services of blessing of a marriage) to wear face coverings. This does NOT change the situation regarding funerals or other indoor services of worship, where face coverings remain mandatory. (See FAQs below for further information about face coverings in places of worship).

The additional exceptions to this requirement are limited. Here they are in full:

(a) where P is unable to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010);
(b) where P is undertaking an activity and wearing a face covering during that activity may be considered to be a risk to P’s health;
(c) where P has to remove the face covering to communicate with a person who has difficulty communicating (in relation to speech, language or otherwise);
(d) where P has to remove the face covering in order to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to P or others;
(e) where P is at the premises to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and does not have a face covering;
(f) where P has to remove the face covering to— (i) take medication; (ii) eat or drink, where reasonably necessary;
(g) where P is asked to remove the face covering by an enforcement officer.

Note that there is no exemption for events where people are seated. Neither is there any exemption for singing (whether congregational singing or a choir rehearsal).

There is no legal exemption for worship leaders. However, Welsh Government’s previous guidance for places of worship said: Those leading worship need not wear a face covering if it impractical to do so. However they should consider a range of other mitigations to ensure they can provide a barrier to transmission such as distancing, screens, visors and additional hygiene measures. We recommend keeping to this guidance when drawing up a risk assessment.

A place of worship cannot be exempted from the requirement by drawing up a risk assessment showing that face coverings are not required – they are a legal requirement.

Risk assessments

It is a legal obligation on the ‘person’ (or body) responsible for “regulated premises” (including places of worship, community centres, etc) to undertake a risk assessment prior to allowing public access to the premises for any purpose. The wording of the regulations makes it a requirement to conduct a full risk assessment (covering general health and safety matters as well as those relating to coronavirus specifically).

Welsh Government has chosen to word the regulations by referring to Health and Safety regulations made in 1999, which have been amended several times since, and then require them to be read as if they were worded differently from the actual wording. So, in order to assist our member churches to update their risk assessment and templates in accordance with the law, we have prepared a guide to what is now mandatory, which can be downloaded here.

We would draw particular attention to five aspects of the regulations:

  1. Our understanding is that the effect of the regulations is to make conducting a full risk assessment – covering general health and safety risks and fire risks as well as the coronavirus related issues – mandatory for all “regulated premises”, even for premises where that was not previously the case.
  2. It is a requirement to ‘consult’ about the risk assessment with those who are ‘working’ in the premises. As many members of a congregation will volunteer in various ways, in practice this means consulting with the active members of the congregation. Welsh Government guidance regarding volunteering includes useful guidance on this. As most tasks required to operate places of worship and faith communities are carried out on a voluntary basis, this guidance will be helpful to places of worship in making arrangements for keeping their volunteers safe.
  3. The regulations require a review of the risk assessment to be made each time the coronavirus regulations are amended or the uses of the premises change (as this would be a significant change in the matters to which it relates) and also when the wider situation regarding the pandemic changes (as this would be reason to suspect that it is no longer valid).
  4. The regulations require the risk assessment to be in writing when five or more persons are working at the premises. As ‘working’ includes working voluntarily, this would cover nearly all circumstances likely to be relevant to faith communities. The regulations also require consultation with these ‘workers’ in drawing up the risk assessment.
  5. There are special requirements relating to risk assessment for young people ‘working’ in the premises.

We hope that the document will be of assistance to you, but please note that it is not legal advice, and professional advice should be sought if there is any doubt about how to apply the regulations in your particular circumstances.

We are pleased to be able to publish below the 5 steps guidance to risk assessment written by David Oliver, Church and Leadership Consultant. This document was prepared originally for the Elim Pentecostal denomination in Wales, and so is based on a ‘free church’ pattern of worship and church life. The 5 steps can easily be adapted for otehr denominations and traditions.

The Church in Wales has produced guidance and a template for risk assessment for churches, which can be adapted for use by other denominations. It has also produced specific risk assessments for (infant) baptism; weddings and funerals; communion; and for church halls. These can all be found on the Church in Wales’ website.

Welsh Government has prepared a template for a Covid risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive has produced a similar Covid risk assessment template. Not all sections will be relevant to all places of worship, and there may be other risks which you should consider, but either template is recommended as a useful starting point for churches drawing up their own risk assessments.
Welsh Government is also producing action cards for a variety of settings and types of activity. The complete selection can be accessed here, and the most appropriate ‘card’ may be used as a starting point in drawing up your own specific risk assessment.
Similar action cards for children’s and youth activities can be found here.

Ventilation will be an important aspect of any risk assessment for indoor activity. Welsh Government guidance (scroll down to the section headed ‘Ventilation’) includes a summary of the latest scientific information which emphasises the need for good ventilation when people from different households meet indoors. A summary of the same information may be found in the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive, and we would draw attention especially to the practical suggestions in sections 4-6.

A risk assessment will need to be based on the prevalence of Covid-19 in the catchment area of the place of worship or activity concerned. Information about your area can be found on the Public Health Wales interactive dashboard. A table by local authority area can be found here. You can also use the drop-down menu to find more local information by hovering over the map provided under the ‘MSOA area’ tab. Use the drop down boxes to look at information for the ‘rolling 7 days’ – as daily figures vary greatly depending on the day of the week. As well as the local infection rate, it makes a difference if the number of cases is rising or falling.

With the provision of information more important than ever at Level 0, when there are so many fewer specific regulations, it should be remembered that Welsh Government has published bilingual signage that can be downloaded to help fulfil the legal duty to provide such information.

On September 21, Welsh Government contacted the Wales Faith Communities Forum to offer the following additional guidance regarding preparing and implementing risk assessments:

It is important to recognise that the risk assessment should be bespoke to the venue and the activities to be undertaken and that risk assessment should be a dynamic process which is kept under review as activities and the broader environment and therefore the risks change. The published guidance has a statutory basis in law and organisers should be able to demonstrate they have considered it.
However, decisions about the mitigations to be taken are bespoke and as such reasonable decisions can be taken. For example, the guidance refers to ‘requiring members of the congregation to take a test before entering’, however this mitigation might be appropriate in some circumstances and not others. Organisers might want to adopt this where a place of worship were to be particularly crowded, where good ventilation is difficult to achieve, where the act of worship is due to take place over an elongated period or similar. It might be excessive and unnecessary where the risk of infection is not pronounced. All that organisers are required to do is to apply thought to the question and be able to demonstrate their thinking.
It is also important to recognise that the process of risk assessment and mitigation requires organisers to communicate their protocols to the public and staff and to take reasonable steps to enforce them. Clearly it can be difficult to challenge members of the public who would wilfully ignore measures put in place to tackle Covid. However, informing and reminding people of a requirement to keep windows open for ventilation or follow one way systems, where these mitigations have been identified by the risk assessment, is part of the responsibility to take reasonable measures. Equally, reminding people of the legal duty to wear a face mask indoors would be a reasonable expectation on organisers. The right and the moral authority to exclude people from places of worship would be likely to be specific to the venue and group. However, the duty is to put in place reasonable measures and this includes acting to ensure that the mitigations you have put in place are not undermined.

Covid passes

On October 5 2021, the Senedd agreed to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 17) Regulations 2021 to be implemented on October 11. These Regulations will make it a requirement to ask for an NHS Covid pass  or an equivalent proof (the Regulations go into detail on what will be regarded as equivalent, e.g. proof of vaccination in some other countries only) before admitting those over 18 years of age to the following:

(a) Night clubs (defined in detail in Regulation 16A (2)(a))
(b) premises at which an event is taking place and more than 10,000 people are in attendance at any time;
(c) premises at which an event is taking place to any extent indoors, where— (i) more than 500 people are in attendance at any time, and (ii) not all the persons attending the event are normally seated during the event;
(d) premises at which an event is taking place outdoors, where— (i) more than 4,000 people are in attendance at any time, and (ii) not all the persons attending the event are normally seated during the event.

Marriage ceremonies are exempt from these regulations, but not other religious activities, so when faith communities arrange large scale events they will need to implement these regulations.

Funerals and weddings

There is no longer any legal restriction on who, or how many, may attend a funeral or wedding service. But in drawing up a risk assessment, it should be remembered that congregations on such occasions may be larger than usual, and include people who are not aware of the arrangements made in places of worship to keep people safe.

Welsh Government guidance regarding funeral services is part of the ‘action card’ for places of worship, available here. It is the responsibility of the appropriate authority covering the place of worship concerned to compile and implement the risk assessment for a funeral service in the place of worship. Equivalent responsibilities will be borne by the authorities covering the cemetery or crematorium and any hospitality setting that are serving the same family. Usually, the funeral director will be able to advise on the implications of the risk assessments for the various elements of the day.

The following passage in the action card, regarding the presence at funerals of individuals who may have tested positive, should be noted carefully:
As (exceptionally) a person who has tested positive for coronavirus may attend a funeral of a family member or close friend on compassionate grounds, taking particular care in relation to any such person present – including by requiring that person to wear a face covering, maintaining strict physical distancing, reducing the length of the funeral service, ensuring good ventilation and holding as much of the funeral as possible outside. 

Welsh Government has suspended the regulations introduced last year enabling the making of emergency arrangements for the disposal of the dead should numbers of deaths exceed the capacity of crematoria and cemeteries.

Welsh Government no longer publishes specific guidance for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, marriage blessings and the like. It is the responsibility of the appropriate authority covering the place of worship concerned (and not the family) to compile and implement the risk assessment for a wedding service in the place of worship. However, the family (or wedding organiser, if there is one) will need to co-ordinate the risk assessments of the hospitality settings, transport providers etc for the various elements of the day.

On August 27, Regulation 20(2)(aa) was added, meaning that it is not necessary for those attending marriage, civil partnership or “an alternative wedding ceremony” (such as services of blessing of a marriage) to wear face coverings. This does NOT change the situation regarding funerals or other indoor services of worship, where face coverings remain mandatory.

The Church in Wales has produced guidance and a template for risk assessment for weddings and funerals, which can be adapted for use by other denominations. (Note that this guidance has not been updated to reflect the change regarding the removal of the requirement to wear a face covering during wedding services).

Pastoral visiting

It is permissible to arrange pastoral visiting indoors, including in private homes. Those visiting should continue to take all reasonable steps to keep themselves and those they are visiting safe, and when the weather is favourable should still consider visiting outdoors.

Welsh Government has published detailed guidance on visiting care homes and visiting hospitals. Guidance on care home visits was updated on August 6, but the guidance regarding hospitals has not been updated since June 18. As some Health Boards are reintroducing restrictions on hospital visiting, the hospital concerned should be contacted to enquire about their current arrangements.

Community use of places of worship and community centres

Community centres (and therefore also places of worship being used for community activities) can open for any activity, subject to a risk assessment and taking reasonable measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Welsh Government guidance on community centres can be found here. It has not been updated since July 6, but the information in it will be useful in drawing up a risk assessment. The same applies to the guidance from WCVA, updated on August 26.
Welsh Government action cards for events and hospitality will be relevant to some community activities, and will provide a useful starting point in drawing up a risk assessment.

The Church in Wales has produced guidance and a template for risk assessment for church halls, which can be adapted for similar situations in other denominations.

Other guidance

There is further guidance that will be useful for some places of worship:

Churches which are part of a denomination, especially where the denomination is the trustee of the local building, should seek the advice of their denomination regarding any specific denominational requirements. It should be noted that the guidance issued by a number of cross-border churches is based on the Regulations applicable in England rather than those applicable in Wales. This is a matter for the individual denomination, and where there is any conflict between denominational advice and the Welsh Regulations, this should be raised within the relevant denomination.

Many of those who are responsible for places of worship are concerned about their liability for conforming to the regulations, especially when they are changing regularly. It may be helpful, therefore, to read Welsh Government’s guidance for enforcement officers (updated for Level 0), to see what they will be looking for and how they will proceed in order to ensure compliance.

Some FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. We will add to this section on a regular basis.

Why is the wearing of face coverings required in places of worship?

Here is the response received from Welsh Government on September 21 to this question:

The Welsh Government has received a significant amount of correspondence regarding wearing of face masks in places of worship … Many people have raised the comparison with hospitality and night clubs and suggested that the requirement to wear them is discriminatory and I wanted to address these points. As you are aware the virus remains with us and current community transmission rates are worrying. Ministers have decided that maintaining a regulatory requirement to wear face masks in indoor public spaces is a necessary protection for public health.
Certain exemptions have been made for hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants. These exemptions have been made not because these activities are inherently safer, clearly they are not. They are made because of the practicality of wearing masks in these venues makes the application of the requirement unreasonable.
Clearly, it is not possible to wear a mask whilst consuming food and drink and the evidence shows that masks become ineffective when made damp as they would if worn during the exertion of dancing in a nightclub. As these activities dominate the time during which people gather in hospitality it has been decided to exempt them in their entirety.
In contrast, whilst clearly uncomfortable or inconvenient, it is practical to continue to worship whilst wearing a face mask. If we take the actions which limit transmission of the virus where we reasonably can we increase our ability to enjoy our lives as we would normally and reduce the chance that we will have to institute greater restrictions later. Therefore comparing relative risk is not as important as considering the reasonableness of the mitigation.
With respect to the question of discrimination, I would suggest, with the above in mind, the approach is not discriminatory in any way. Places of worship are treated in the same way as other indoor venues where people gather such as theatres or cinemas. The requirement does not prevent someone from asserting their (qualified) right to manifest their faith through worship, indeed I would suggest that, reflecting some of the correspondence we have received, wearing face masks offers confidence to some vulnerable people that they can attend worship safely.

Musical instruments and singing

Congregational singing is permitted (wearing face coverings) as is the playing of any kind of musical instrument, subject to a full risk assessment. Welsh Government guidance notes that singing can be a high risk activity, and the ‘action card’ for places of worship says the following:
Singing or chanting increases the amount of aerosol expelled into the air from people’s mouths. Reducing the amount of singing or stopping singing can help to reduce the risk of transmission. If singing or chanting takes place, other mitigations should be put in place, which could include improving ventilation, moving the activity outdoors, increasing the space between people, or having fewer people present.

The technical advice which underlies this may be read here.

Worship and events for special occasions (indoors or outdoors)

Outdoor and indoor activities – including services of worship – can take place involving any number of people. It remains essential to conduct and implement a full risk assessment. Welsh government guidance on this can be found here.

Serving refreshments before or after worship

Refreshments may be served subject to an appropriate risk assessment. Welsh Government’s action card for hospitality venues will be a useful starting point in drawing up a risk assessment.

Cleaning the building

Welsh Government’s ‘action card’ for places of worship recommends the following:

  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment. Allowing for breaks between service and ensuring thorough and regular cleaning, using disinfectant in high footfall areas and in high contact touchpoints such as door handles or rails.
  • Where objects are touched as part of worship, cleaning the object between each worshipper that touched it  and require worshipers to sanitise or wash their hands before and after touching the object. .
  • Providing hand sanitiser and encouraging regular hand washing.

The Health & Safety Executive has provided guidance regarding cleaning and hand sanitising materials.

Public Health England has published detailed guidance about general cleaning and about cleaning a building when it is found that someone with Covid-19 has been present.

Test, Trace, Protect

Regulation 16 notes that one “reasonable measure” to safeguard people against coronavirus is:
collecting contact information from each person at the premises and retaining it for 21 days for the purpose of providing it to any of the following, upon their request—
(i) the Welsh Ministers;
(ii) a contact tracer;
and taking reasonable measures to ensure that such contact information is correct.

Detailed guidance on keeping Test, Trace, Protect records can be found here.

It is not mandatory in Wales to display a QR code in places of worship to enable use of the Covid-19 app, but churches may choose to do so.

Those working or volunteering, who can no longer do so from home, may order two Covid-19 tests per week. Guidance and information can be found here. Such testing is voluntary, but may well prove reassuring for those who work or volunteer in churches, church cafes and shops and community centres.

Individuals who are anxious about attending

There is no requirement on anyone to attend a place of worship for any purpose, and it is important to ensure pastoral care of anyone who is anxious regarding this. We endorse the comments on the Baptists Together website: We are acutely aware that the process for making decisions going forward has the potential to be divisive. In some respects it was easier when rules were more restrictive but at least definite. How we make decisions may prove to be as important to churches as the decisions themselves. We appeal to everyone involved to be kind to each other, to listen well, to appreciate the pressure leaders are under, and to compromise accordingly. This is a very vulnerable time for churches and we ask you to recall the exhortation in Ephesians 4 to ‘be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’.

Welsh Government advice to those who are extremely clinically vulnerable was updated on July 27 and easy read guidance was published on August 16.

The United Reformed Church has drawn up a personal risk assessment tool for members of congregations.

Welsh Government has produced a suite of easily read materials for the public offering general advice on keeping safe.

Welsh Government has created badges and lanyards for individuals to wear in order to remind others to keep their distance.


Baptism by immersion and infant baptism may be arranged subject to a detailed risk assessment – bearing in mind the risks to those involved in the baptism, and to a congregation which may include people who are not familiar with the church’s arrangements.

When baptising an infant, and depending on the denominational tradition involved, an officiant who wishes to avoid touching the baby may be able to administer the water using a liturgical vessel or a common vessel (such as a cup or a large spoon) from arm’s length, and this may be more dignified and practical than splashing water from a distance. A practice using a doll could be arranged to ensure that the method chosen is appropriate.

The Church in Wales has produced guidance and a template for risk assessment for (infant) baptisms, which can be adapted for use in other denominations.

Communion services

A specific risk assessment should be prepared for the administration of communion. This is especially important if it is intended to use a shared loaf or a common cup.

A number of commercial suppliers provide individual packs containing a wafer and a plastic cup of wine. If appropriate within the church’s tradition, these can be blessed and distributed, or they may be placed in the pews prior to the service or be left for collection by worshippers as they arrive. If worshippers are asked to bring their own elements, a supply of these packs may be kept in reserve for worshippers who forget or are visiting. Some churches will be reluctant to use these packs due to the volume of unreusable plastic which they contain.

The Church in Wales has produced guidance and a template for risk assessment for communion. Church traditions who administer communion in different ways would need to adapt this risk assessment before use.

Confirmation, ordination and the laying on of hands

A specific risk assessment should be drawn up when laying on of hands is part of worship. There should be advance consultation with those whom it is intended to touch regarding what is acceptable to them.

Children and young people

All activities may be held subject to an appropriate risk assessment. The following Welsh Government guidance will be useful in drawing up the risk assessment:

Church governance meetings

Church governance meetings may be held, subject to a risk assessment. Where some members of the meeting are elderly and/or in poor health, this should be taken into account in the risk assessment. When such a meeting is held in a private dwelling, the church will still be responsible for the safety of participants, so the rik should be assessed in consultation with the householder.

Worshipping in premises not owned by the faith community

It is the ‘person’ responsible for the premises who is required to ensure conformity with the regulations and arranging a risk assessment. It is, therefore, necessary to discuss with that ‘person’ how worship may be arranged.

Support schemes provided by UK and Welsh Governments

The UK Government has announced the extension of the Job Retention (furlough) scheme until the end of September 2021. The scheme is available to businesses whether they are open or closed, but the full regulations should be studied carefully. Taxation law is a specialised field, and you are advised to seek professional advice if you are unsure how to proceed in this regard.

The following Welsh Government funding will support community activities carried out by faith groups. It will not provide support for religious activity.

The Voluntary Services Recovery Fund is available to all third sector groups, including faith groups. It aims to prevent inequalities which have arisen as a result of Covid-19 from becoming entrenched. It can fund recovery focused community activity which is volunteer led.

The Third Sector Resilience Fund provides a mix of grant and loan funding for third sector organisations under three strands; survive, adapt and improve. It does accept applications from faith groups, however due to the loan element it may only be suitable for some groups. Applicants need to be incorporated organisations or prepared to incorporate before funding is finalised. The September-November 2021 funding round is prioritizing organisations that support people or communities with protected characteristics, including faith/belief groups. Follow the link for further details.

The Community Facilities Programme provides capital grants at two levels, up to £25,000 for small projects and up to £250,000 for larger schemes. The grant must be used for the improvement of well used community buildings .This can include facilities operated by faith groups as long as they are open to the wider community.

There are a large number of other grant programmes offered by organisations outside of the Welsh Government which will provide funding for projects led by faith groups. This includes Welsh Churches Act funds operated by local authorities (refer to your local authority website)  and programmes run by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Community Foundation Wales and a variety of trusts and foundations. Information on these sources of funding and many more can be found on the Funding Wales website.

The Business Wales website includes comprehensive information about other support schemes which are available and about an expanded apprenticeship scheme to assist those who are out of work due to the pandemic.

WCVA has collated a detailed list of sources of funding available to third sector organisations, many of which are open to applications from churches and faith groups.

It is also worth any faith group making contact with their local county voluntary council for support in identifying local and national funding sources. You can find information on your local county voluntary council at Third Sector Support Wales.

Gethin Rhys