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Hi

Can i just ask is there anyone else out there who has a pre-school in a church and come under a church's constitution instead of the PLA constitution.

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Hi!

We are in a church building, as the pre-school was started by the church over 40 years ago. We came under their charity, until it became impossible to continue due to a Business Toolkit review by our pre-school development worker.

 

The church by then had absolutely nothing to do with the running of the pre-school, but we had no constitution of our own either. After a lot of research, which really did not guide us very much, we jumped in with 4 feet ( two of us ) and formed the pre-school into a limited company. So far so good............

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we have discovered under the church's constitution they own all our equipment and the money in our bank account, we discovered this when we tried to put in for funding for an outside space, we can't get the funding because of the constitution... such a mess...as it doesn't belong to us...

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Without a bit more information it is difficult to comment but:

If you were originally set up by members of the church then this would be why you come under their constitution, and even if you are no longer a church run group, if you have not separated and made you own arrangements, then they are responsible under Charity Law. I assume this affects grant funding because it would be their accounts you would be part of- that could make it look as if you had more income than you actually have. They are also responsible, in law, for monitoring any funding covered by their constitution as part of the church. That shouldn't affect how you manage your budget, but they are responsible 'in law' for ensuring that the money is spent on the purpose for which it is given, and accounts are properly kept. You need to become separate with your own constitution, then that would not apply, and you can manage your group in your own right. Have you had a chat with the PCC Chair and the Priest about how this affects you and your ability to run your group effectively?

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We had a similar "conversation" with the Church committee - albeit we wrote loads of letters and received no written replies. We pointed out that as our "committee" they were responsible for policies, employment, finance, etc., etc........ They decided we could take the pre-school over as a business! Surely as the funding is claimed for the children, the church is not entitled to use it, or any equipment you purchase? I know it's probably a lot more complicated than that!

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it does seem very complicated, our church have had nothing to do with us for over 10 years, we have brought lots of new equipment and years ago when it was the church, the account was in the red, we now have a healthy balance and many children plus a waiting list, we have replaced all the equipment and now we are having problems meeting the requirement of the EYFS, we have telephoned , sent letters to the church committee but we don't get anywhere.... they just say we have to abide by the constitution, under their constititution we cannot claim any funding as they say the money would be for the church not for us... so if we ever leave the building we have nothing... just the staff. I just wondered if there were other people in similair positions? It just makes meeting the EYFS requirements very difficult...i now have so many action plans to cover different points !!!!!!!

 

I just feel these constitutions are a little out of date and maybe need adjusting to meet the needs of todays requirements that we have to meet now, years ago it was just a group of church mums meeting with their children to play.......

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Any funding you are given has to be spent on what is is given for, so if it is given for your children then they cannot use the money for anything else, so that shouldn't be a problem. If the church council are your committee then they will 'own' your equipment, but presumably if you left then someone else would have to take over the group.

Seems to me that someone official needs to support you in a meeting with whoever is responsible in the church so that you can explain and sort something out. If they are responsible then they also have to accept that they have to act responsibily. They probably don't really understand where you are coming from. Get someone from the LA or OFSTED that'll scare them :o

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Thanks for your reply jacquiel.... what they are saying is that if we get a grant or funding towards anything it doesn't belong to us it belongs to the church, so no funding is not possible... i have seeked advice from my development worker, my early years advisor... with no success.... i contacted lawcall for advise and they have recommended i now see a solicitor.......this just seems so extreme.....as this may upset the church committee and this could make life difficult... makes you wonder whether you should just let sleeping dogs lie... ( or whatever the saying is!!!!!)

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I'm just sorry I can't be more helpful. It seems to be an awkward situation that would be easy to resolve if they would listen and understand. Best of luck.

 

I have an amusing picture of all the oldies in the congregation playing in your sand pit, and having a whale of a time on the tricycles!

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I'm not sure and would need to check but I think one possibility is that the PCC (if you are Church of England) could vote to let you be a separate entity. We used to be a much closer part of the church and indeed the vicar is our Chair still but we stand alone as a business and our accounts are very much separate from the church. I would advise you to stay on amicable terms with them as they control your rent etc presumably. If the PCC don't seem to be able to do this you could ask the Vicar to contact the person in charge of the churches in your area (ours is the Archdeacon) who might be able to shed some light and hope on this tricky situation. Don't give up!

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You mustn't be so cynical.... I know you will think creatively and come up with a marvellous solution. I've just spent a happy 1/2 hour reading all the catalogues that arrived last week, thinking hmm that could work, I wonder if... etc. We have to work with what we've got don't we? (My personal solution is that I'm also the Church Warden LOL! That means as the Nursery Manager I have to approach the warden for permission (me!).... half way there, just have to convince the pcc and the vicar after that :o

 

On the subject of the funding for ICT and Outdoors Area I asked our Early Years lot at the LEA and they said we aren't getting any. Hows that then if you are?

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You mustn't be so cynical.... I know you will think creatively and come up with a marvellous solution.

I'm honestly not cynical, LJW: its just that our outdoor area is so small, and the Parish don't really like to have any trace of us in the building or in the grounds when we're not there. I'm hoping that I can find something the whole community can benefit from, and persuade them that way! Mind you I don't know how much money we're getting yet...

 

On the subject of the funding for ICT and Outdoors Area I asked our Early Years lot at the LEA and they said we aren't getting any. Hows that then if you are?

Well we haven't been told the details of the offer yet, LJW because it had to go to the full Council for approval I gather. Should know any day now. Perhaps you need to ask your LEA: I understood that all authorities were being given the money. Perhaps your LEA has chosen to spend it differently?

 

Maz

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