Places of Worship (POW): protective security funding scheme

Apply for funding for security measures to protect against hate crime.

Applies to England and Wales

Overview of the scheme

The places of worship (PoW) protective security funding scheme is a government commitment in the 2016-2020 hate crime action plan. This scheme is intended to reduce the risk and impact of hate crime at places of worship and associated faith community centres.

The scheme provides funding for protective security measures, such as CCTV, fencing, and intruder alarms, to places of worship and associated faith community centres that are vulnerable to hate crime.

The scheme is open to all faiths, apart from the Jewish community. The Jewish community are not eligible for funding from this scheme as a separate commitment was made to fund security measures at Jewish community sites through a grant administered by the Community Security Trust.

You can submit an application for the installation of up to 3 protective security measures from 4 June until 23:59 on 16 July 2021. We will not consider any applications received after this date.

The maximum government funding available to any place of worship or associated faith community centre is £56,000 for the installation of the protective security measures. However, this does not include any costs associated with planning permissions or consents, and does not cover any prepatory work identified at survey stage to facilitate installation (such as clearing the grounds).

The scheme only covers protective security measures and cannot be used to fund:

  • general building improvements
  • standard security upgrades
  • measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, lead theft, or other criminality unconnected with hate crime
  • security personnel/guarding
  • measures which have already been provided by third party installers

Following an open competition, Esotec Limited, has been appointed to be the single provider responsible for conducting site assessments, quotes and installations of all security measures funded under this scheme. All measures under the scheme must be completed and delivered by 31 March 2022. Therefore, all successful applicants will need to commit to participating fully and promptly. If an applicant does not commit fully, the offer of installation may be withdrawn.

Please read through this guidance thoroughly before making an application, and check regularly for any updates to the scheme.

Who can apply?

The scheme is open to all faiths, except the Jewish community, who have experienced hate crime and/or feel that that they are vulnerable to hate crime at their place of worship. The application must be made on behalf of your places of worship and/or associated faith community centre, and your site must be in either England or Wales. Below are some examples of those eligible to apply for the funding, but this is not an exhaustive list:

  • churches
  • gurdwaras
  • mosques
  • temples
  • associated faith community centres (we define this as a community centre run by a place of worship or near a place of worship that is faith based, and where regular worship takes place)

The scheme does not cover the following:

  • living accommodation
  • educational facilities (faith schools and educational institutions are not eligible
  • NHS establishments including chapels and prayer rooms
  • other separate buildings not used for regular worship (where these structures exist within the same building or site as the place of worship, only the protection of the place of worship will be considered)

Places of worship that have received funding from the scheme in 2019 or 2020 and had security measures installed cannot apply, unless their circumstances have substantially changed. If you received funding from the scheme before 2019, or have previously applied to the scheme but your application was unsuccessful, you are able to apply this year.

Charity status

Places of worship and associated faith community centres are normally charitable and required by law to register as charities if their income from all sources is over £5,000 a year. Some churches are currently excepted from registration.

If you are lawfully exempt, you will be required as part of your application to include a written confirmation of your exemption and the justification for your exemption. You must upload this written confirmation to the application portal on your organisation’s letter headed paper.

If you are not registered as a charity and are not exempt, you will need to register with the Charity Commission before applying to the scheme.

If you would like advice and support on completing the application to register as a charity, are unsure about whether you need to register, or have any other queries about registering as a charity, please contact,

Security equipment

You can apply for funding to cover the costs of up to three security measures from the list below.

The security equipment being covered by this funding scheme includes:

  • CCTV (fixed cameras, not pan-tilt cameras)
  • fencing and/or railings (no more than 2.1m high)
  • manually operated pedestrian and vehicle gates
  • door hardening, locks and mail box / mail bag
  • reinforcing single glazed windows (with anti-shatter film or bars/grilles only)
  • intruder alarms including integrated smoke/heat detection
  • door entry access control (fob or keypad)
  • video intercom systems
  • lighting (building mounted)

The scheme only covers protective security measures and cannot be used to fund:

  • general building improvements
  • standard security upgrades
  • measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, lead theft, or other criminality unconnected with hate crime
  • security personnel/guarding
  • measures which have already been provided by third party installers

Stage 1: gather evidence of your site’s vulnerability to hate crime

A ‘hate crime’ can be defined as any crime that is motivated by hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. For this scheme, we are focusing on religiously-motivated hate crimes, but we will accept evidence of racially-motivated hate crimes if they have primarily occurred at your place of worship.

To be eligible for funding, your application will need to demonstrate ‘evidence of experienced hate crimes and/or hate incidents, which demonstrate a vulnerability, and/or evidence of hate crime in your local area.’ You will need to provide evidence that your community is vulnerable at your place of worship to the kind of hate crime that targets people because of their religion and race.

You will have an opportunity to upload your evidence on the application form. You are allowed to upload a maximum of 10 files of evidence in support of your application. These should support the information you list in your hate crime overview form.

The list below is not exhaustive and is intended to give some suggestions of the types of evidence we are looking for:

  • photographs/reports of incidents at your place of worship/associated faith community centre or nearby
  • police reports of a hate crime or incident at your place of worship/associated faith community centre or nearby
  • a letter or email from your local police force confirming that your institution is in an area where there has been high incidence of religiously motivated hate crimes
  • evidence of particular tensions in the community, for example, from a local authority community coordinator
  • testimonials about experiences of hate crime or hateful sentiment from worshippers at your place of worship/associated faith community centre
  • records and/or time and date logs of incidents that have occurred at your place of worship or associated community centre, or its nearby surroundings
  • a survey or consensus of the congregation indicating feelings of vulnerability to hate crime

Any reasonable evidence that you provide will be considered.

Stage 2: complete the application form online

To apply for funding through the scheme, you will need to:

  • complete an online application
  • complete a hate crime overview form (available to download below)
  • upload evidence of your site’s vulnerability to hate crime (see Stage 1 above)

You can only submit one application for your place of worship/associated faith community centre. If your place of worship and associated faith community centre are on the same site, you should still only submit one application.

The form can be saved at any stage. However you must submit your application before the deadline closes at 23:59 on 16 July 2021.

If you require any assistance with submitting your application, help is available from Strengthening Faith Institutions by:

The following information is required for the online application form (as well as your evidence and hate crime overview form). Make sure you have this to hand when completing the online form:

  • name, faith, and address of organisation
  • point of contact details
  • place of worship location (England or Wales) and type (place of worship and/or associated faith community centre)
  • charity number or letter on your organisation’s letter headed paper confirming if and why you are legally exempt from registering as a charity (you will be asked to upload the letter)
  • existing security measures at your site
  • which 3 security measures you think would add the most benefit
  • a completed overview of hate crime form
  • information about if you’re previously applied, and the outcome of that application
  • additional information about awareness of the scheme, the number of worshippers/visitors to your site, and estimated annual income
  • an opportunity to provide feedback on the online form

Hate crime overview form

This form is your opportunity to detail the hate crimes/incidents that your site has experienced, as well as any hate crimes/incidents in your local area. When filling in this form, you should provide as much necessary detail as possible. The form is set out in a format so that you can easily note down your experiences.

Please download the hate crime overview form.

For each incident, you should make clear:

  • what has happened
  • when it has happened
  • where it has happened
  • why you believe this is a hate crime/incident
  • the impact it has had on your site

You should also think about how strong your evidence is. Think about these questions when considering your evidence:

  • how recently has the crime/incident occurred?
  • how frequently do you experience hate crimes/incidents? Have the crimes/incidents occurred over a period of time?
  • can you identify the motivation behind the crimes/incidents? Have you been targeted specifically because of your faith?
  • what is the impact of the crime/incident on your community?

Considering your evidence in these terms will help you to focus on putting forward your best application.

Once you’ve completed the form, this should be uploaded to page 20 of the online application, as the hate crime overview form is part of the online application.

What makes an application successful

Last year, successful applications used clear evidence to explain how and why they were vulnerable to hate crime. Applicants detailed the incidents clearly and relied on multiple sources of evidence to show their vulnerability. These applicants listed a crime or incident, and then provided evidence to back it up. For example, an applicant who has suffered hate graffiti may then upload photos of the graffiti.

Unsuccessful applications offered limited evidence and/or did not explain why they were vulnerable to hate crime. For example, some applications uploaded photos, but did not explain what the photos showed, or applicants only provided police incident reference numbers, but did not explain what had happened.

Unfortunately, you will not score highly if you simply state that you have a vulnerability to hate crime, or if you simply list police incident reference numbers with no information about the crime. You must detail the crime/incident, and provide evidence.


We have listed some examples of what successful and unsuccessful applications may look like. This is to guide you with your application, but it is not exhaustive and must not be copied in your application form.

Successful applicant 1:

We have experienced several hate crimes and incidents over the past few years. We have not reported all of these to the police. In the past year, we have had three incidences of hate graffiti occur on our walls during prayer times. I attach photographic evidence of the incidents.

At every religious festival, we receive harassment. Protest groups attend and shout abusive things at us. I attach a witness statement from a worshipper who suffered some of this abuse at a recent religious festival.

Last year, we also had an incident of criminal damage. People entered our premises during the night, and destroyed important religious texts and statutes. They broke down the door, and set fire to the religious texts. I attach photographic evidence of the damage. This felt hate motivated as the religious texts and statutes were purposefully targeted and damaged.

We recently had a more serious incident involving a male trying to enter the premises with a knife. Fortunately nobody was hurt, and the police arrived promptly to deal with the man. I attach the police crime reference report from the incident, which provides further information on what happened. This was recorded by the police as a hate crime, as the man stated he had been there to hurt worshippers.

These incidents have made our worshippers feel vulnerable and targeted because of their faith. A local place of worship down the road has also experienced a number of similar religiously motivated hate crimes, and this adds to our feelings of vulnerability, as we feel tensions from the surrounding community.

Successful applicant 2:

We recently experienced a terrible incident where all of our religious statues were destroyed in one night. We also had all of our windows smashed. This attack was deliberate, iconoclastic, and planned. The perpetrators attacked the site at night, and the day before an important religious festival. This meant that we were unable to properly celebrate the religious festival, and instead spent the day talking to the police and clearing up the mess.

This was a terrible attack which has made our worshippers feel really vulnerable. Prior to this, we have experienced some low level anti-social behaviour, with people trespassing and littering on the premises. However, this attack shows a deliberate shift into more direct attacks against our faith and premises.

In support of this application I attach photographs of the damage, witness reports detailing the impact, a survey of worshippers and how they feel about safety, police incident reports, and CCTV footage of the incidents.

Unsuccessful applicant 1:

In the current climate, all places of worship are vulnerable to hate crime.

Unsuccessful applicant 2:

We had someone leave a bag of rubbish on our premises.

Unsuccessful applicant 3:

There was a terrible incident involving knives, and 20 police officers attended.

As demonstrated by these examples, the applicants which provide more detail and upload evidence in support of their application, are the applicants which are more likely to score highly.

Stage 3: site assessment and quotation

If your application successfully demonstrates your vulnerability to hate crime, your application will progress to the next stage; a quotation assessment appointment.

Our nominated contractor, Esotec Limited, will contact you to organise this appointment. Due to the funding scheme timelines, you will be expected to make access available on the date and time of the appointment allocated by Esotec Limited. Where possible, this appointment will be jointly undertaken with a local Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO), as arranged by Esotec Limited.

This appointment will involve a site assessment in order to determine the three most appropriate physical and/or electrical security measures that you may be offered under the scheme (if successful) that are in line with the DOCO recommendations and are proportionate to the risk.

At this stage, if you are content with the proposal you will be required to indicate your intention to proceed. You should not undertake any installation works yourself or procure services from a third party to install such measures. The Home Office will contact applicants directly to notify them of the result of their application. Esotec Limited may use third party sub-contractors to install any future security measures, as and when required. All Designing Out Crime Officers are qualified to the national standard and most have completed a City and Guilds advanced certificate in crime prevention and environment design.

Decisions on applications

After your application has progressed past the quotation assessment appointment, it will be passed to the Independent Advisory Panel. The panel is made up of representatives from the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities who have expertise on security issues in relation to their faith buildings. The panel will also include a representative from the police crime prevention initiatives, and a Welsh representative.

The panel will make recommendations to the Home Office on the allocation of funding and final decisions are taken on a discretionary basis. Even if you provide evidence of being vulnerable to religious and racially-motivated hate crime, the panel can take other factors into account and can still recommend your application is declined. For example, they can recommend either part approval of the funds or measures requested, or recommend refusal of the full amount.

Due diligence checks will be carried out by the Home Office for applications put forward by the Independent Advisory Panel.

You will then be advised if you have been successful.

Approved bids: installation of security measures

If your bid is successful, Esotec Limited, our nominated contractor, will engage with you on the installation of your approved security measures. The Home Office will cover 100 percent of your costs, which will be paid directly to Esotec Limited, with the exception of any costs associated with permissions/consent required, or pre-requisites highlighted to the place of worship in the offer (for example, costs associated with clearing site debris or foliage to allow installation works to occur).

The Home Office will undertake audit spot checks on a number of completed projects to ensure that installation is in line with the description in the application and to a satisfactory standard. All applicants should be prepared that the Home Office may make contact at a later date to arrange a spot visit.

Approved bids: planning restrictions

The award of a grant to install security measures at your place of worship does not include permission to carry out the works. If your application is successful, you will need to check if further permissions are needed for the work to be carried out (for example, planning permission, listed building consent, faculty permission and so on).

We ask you to seek any permissions required as quickly as possible, as all measures must be delivered and completed by 31 March 2022. Esotec will seek confirmation from the applicant that the application process for consent has been started, within two weeks of notification of a successful application, in order to meet the timescales of the scheme.

Bid opens Bid closes
4 June 23:59 on 16 July

Quotation assessment appointments

Quotation assessment appointments will be organised and carried out between July and August 2021 (this date is a guide and can be subject to change)

Bid review period commences

Bids will be considered by an independent advisory panel in September 2021 (this date is a guide and can be subject to change).

Outcome communicated

Successful bids will be communicated by November 2021 (this date is a guide and can be subject to change).

Protect duty consultation

Another way we are improving protective security and preparedness is through the Protect Duty consultation which is now live (closing on 2 July). We encourage all owners and operators of Places of Worship, or other faith-based events and venues to take part.

The Protect Duty is part of the government’s approach to improving protective security and preparedness at public places to mitigate the impact of a terror attack. The duty would likely require certain owners and operators of public places to consider possible threats, assess the risk and take reasonable steps to protect against them. It will be proportionate to ensure that the public are properly protected whilst not placing undue pressure on organisations.

The consultation is open to the public and targeted at venues, organisations, local and public authorities and/or individuals who own or operate at publicly accessible locations. This includes places of worship, and other venues operating faith events or programmes.

Data protection

To find out more about how we process and protect your information, and your rights in relation to this, please see the Privacy information notice (PIN) (PDF, 149KB, 9 pages).

Contact us

Esotec Limited will be the first point of contact for the places of worship protective security funding scheme (referring any queries to the Home Office as appropriate).

If you have any queries regarding your application, please contact Esotec Limited.

Published 26 July 2016
Last updated 25 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Amendment of closing date from 2 July to 16 July 2021.

  2. Updated email under Contact Us.

  3. Added contact details for Strengthening Faith Institutions, for if you require any assistance with submitting your application.

  4. Updated places of worship scheme guidance.

  5. Updated privacy information notice (PIN).

  6. Details updated for the 2020 scheme including the Privacy Information Notice.

  7. Bids open for 2019 fund.

  8. Bids open for 2018 fund.

  9. Bidding open for 2017 funding.

  10. Application deadline extended to 4 October 2016.

  11. Updated guidance and bid form published.

  12. First published.