16th July 2013

After the recent debate and media coverage of those churches who experience problems with bats, it's wonderful to see one church come to terms with their wild visitors.

As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the National Churches Trust has today, Tuesday 16 July 2013, revealed some of 'The UK's Favourite Churches', as chosen by 60 top people from the world of politics, entertainment, journalism and academia.

Julia Hanmer, CEO of the Bat Conservation Trust was asked to nominate a church. She has chosen: The Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity, Tattershall, Lincolnshire.

Julia Hanmer, CEO of the Bat Conservation Trust says:"I am hugely impressed by the work everyone at Holy Trinity is doing to live alongside the bats in their church. I know this hasn't been easy, but they have worked hard to find solutions for the issues caused by the large pipistrelle colony and other bats present. I also really appreciate how the church is working closely with the local bat group, Bat Conservation Trust and Natural England, such as opening their doors for volunteer training events. I think this hard work, creativity and partnership working is worth celebrating."

"At the Bat Conservation Trust we recognise the importance of church buildings to bat conservation. We also know that living with bats is not always easy, and large roosts can create problems through the accumulation of droppings and urine. In Holy Trinity the congregation are trying to balance the needs of space for worship, community use and the protection of a historic building and its valuable contents with the protection of bat roosts - not an easy task! The church is very actively used for worship and receives 30,000 visitors annually because of its unique architecture and history.What makes the Holy Trinity of Tattershall, and the people looking after it, so remarkable is their generous attitude and patient tolerance towards the resident bats. They certainly provide a commendable contribution to the conservation of bats in the UK. But equally importantly, they shine a light on how congregations can find ways to share their place of worship with bats, discover what magnificent creatures they are, and turn round perceptions of bats from being a nuisance to being an asset. This is why I am thrilled to nominate the Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity as my favourite church."

Bats in Churches - Challenges and Solutions: An Event for Church WardensEvent on July 30th at Holy Trinity Church, Tattershall, start time 4pm.

Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) working in partnership with Holy Trinity Church in Tattershall to run an event for church wardens and those who look after church buildings where there are bats.

This event is being organised by BCT's Churches Officer, Laura Bambini, the church wardens at the Collegiate Holy Trinity, and local bat worker Ian Nixon. The event is part of BCT's Bats, Churches and Communities pilot project that BCT would like to roll out nationwide - pending funding. It demonstrates Tattershall's can-do approach to the challenges posed by large bat roosts.

Laura Bambini, BCT Churches Officer says: "We are bringing experts together to give church wardens the opportunity to discuss and explore solutions to bat-related issues they find in their church. I hope this event will increase collaboration between bat workers and the church community."

The church warden event is designed to demonstrate practical solutions for churches with bats and to learn about what measures have worked elsewhere. The event is also an opportunity for church warden to share experiences and to raise on-going concerns. Participants are encouraged to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of church wardens and bat workers present. Church wardens will also get the chance to meet some bats up close.

(More information on this event is available )

Notes:The church: The Collegiate Church of Holy Trinity, Tattershall is one of the finest examples of Perpendicular architecture in England, and receives over 30,000 visitors annually. This Grade I listed building dates back to 1500 and contains superb decorative carvings, brasses, delicate window tracery and a magnificent timber ceiling.

The Bats: The Holy Trinity Church is also home to an unusual diversity of bats. Over 500 soprano pipistelles roost in the nave, and up to 120 Daubenton's bats are using the north porch. Brown long-eared bats, Natterer's bats, common pipistrelles and Nathusius' pipistrelles can be encountered inside the building.

Many of the UK's 17 breeding species of bats are still recovering from dramatic declines in their populations caused by man-made changes in the landscape over the last century. These changes include agricultural intensification, habitat loss through development and a decrease in availability of natural roosting sites. Today, bats in the UK have adapted to using buildings for shelter.

Partnerships and solutions: The Lincolnshire bat group got involved in 1985 to help the church with the problems caused by the bats. Over the years, a strong partnership has developed and today the church hosts regular bat worker training events. Visitors to the church are greeted by friendly volunteers who explain about the bats and the implications to the congregation of sharing the building with them. Information boards and leaflets provide additional information. From Easter to September, when bats are most active in the church, all surfaces are cleaned and disinfected daily. Many of the heritage objects are permanently protected from bat droppings and urine by purpose-built covers, and pews have been removed from the nave to save on cleaning costs.

Bats, Churches and Communities pilot project is working with churches, communities and volunteers to build partnerships, develop the available help and support and explore practical, cost-effective solutions. It is a pilot project due to end in August - a longer term large-scale programme is needed to ensure all church communities get the help they need. This project has developed draft guidance for parishes, written solution-focused studies for the Church Care website and supported new bat worker training. The continuation of this project is a key strategy for helping churches but we currently don't have the funding needed.

Contacts for further information:

BCT: Abi McLoughlin, Press Officer. E-mail: amcloughlin@bats.org.uk Office: 0207 8207183 Mobile: 07974779521. Laura Bambini, Churches Officer. E-mail: lbambini@bats.org.uk Mobile: 07548 983 512. David Mullenger, Holy trinity Church Warden and Ian Nixon, local bat worker of Lincolnshire Bat Group can be contacted through us for interviews.

National Churches Trust Press Contact: Eddie Tulasiewicz 07742 932278 / 0207 776 1048