Section 137 may only be used in the following way:
"A local authority may, subject, in the case of a parish or community council, to the following provisions of this section, incur expenditure on contributions to any of the following funds, that is to say—
(a) the funds of any charitable body in furtherance of its work in the United Kingdom; or
(b) the funds of any body which provides any public service (whether to the public as a whole or to any section of it) in the United Kingdom otherwise than for the purposes of gain; or
(c) any fund which is raised in connection with a particular event directly affecting persons resident in the United Kingdom on behalf of whom a public appeal for contributions has been made by the Lord Mayor of London or the chairman of a principal council or by a committee of which the Lord Mayor of London or the chairman of a principal council is a member or by such a person or body as is referred to in section 83(3)(c) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973."
The total sum of money available in each year under S137 is capped at £8.12 (2019/20) or £8.32 (2020/21) multiplied by the number of electors on roll and the benefit must be commensurate with the sum of money committed. So your council can't spend £100k in a year, can only appoint a charitable planning consultant and would need to demonstrate a benefit (i.e. a guarantee of success).
On churchyards, s.6(1) (a) of the Local Government Act 1894 transferred powers from the Vestry and Churchwardens to the newly formed parish councils “except so far as relates to the affairs of the church or to ecclesiastical charities.” s.6(1) (c) of the 1894 Act confirms the powers, duties and liabilities conferred on parish councils include “the holding and management of parish property “not being property relating to affairs of the church or held for an ecclesiastical charity”. So there is no power to support a church, a church hall or a churchyard.
Many councils provided welfare services to vulnerable residents this year, including setting up foodbanks and distributing welfare packages, but there is no power to provide goods or financial benefits to individuals. The correct way to address this is for the council to provide money to a not-for-profit organisation, but this is not always feasible and inevitably takes time. Nobody should criticise a council for providing a compassionate and timely response in such extraordinary times and that is why we need to have the flexibility to respond to local situations without red tape getting in the way.