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Major Headache & Frustrating Situation HELP!


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This is mainly to get this off my chest, and also im hoping for peoples opinions and advice where possible. Lety me try to explain the situation the best i can:

 

We are a nursery that rents a room from a community centre, now this community centre is committee run. I won't go into the history but the current Chair has been in that position for 2 years now, and was elected in by mainly her friends, believe it or not and has nothing to lose except her position if the community centre was to "fail" and it is her 1st position has such, so experience is very lacking to say the least. Now, i feel strongly about having a good chair because obviously the running of the community centre is paramount to the future of our nursery!

 

Ok the next point i need to make is the Community Centre is owned by the council, and the committee need to adhere to conditions set by them for the building. The council have also in the last 2 years been offering support to the centre to help them, and to be honest it hasn't really helped them. Another point is the council have been paying the "rent" for the centre for years and years and this has never had any impact on the centres running costs.. lucky them! Until the last few years it had not even been noticed, until the council gave the centre an increased rental figure of £14,000 per year, to which they the council agreed to pay if conditions where met.. these conditions as far as i am aware have not been met, and this rent might come into force very soon for the centre, and it will just be too much for the committee to afford. Not enough user groups for the other rooms in the centre, and too much staff wages etc etc etc i could go on for hours typing!!!

 

Now our problem will be if the committee have to hand the keys back to the council... where does it leave us!

 

Other problems i could also talk about over the last 2 years, ie had to remove our signage from the building, remove our projector (IWB now doesnt work) and much much more! I am happy to let you know haha

 

WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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Oh dear this sounds awful for you.

 

How do the other committee members feel? Can you take a vote of no confidence?

 

Have you contacted the council to seek advice? Early years business support?

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I will elaberate a bit more.. it is my mum who owns the nursery, and i am now a business partner. My mum used to be the secretary on the committee until 2 years ago, when it was decided because my mum owns a business in the centre she can no longer hold a position like that and was forced to resign her position, and at this time she was actually wanting to be the Chair person, because she has done lots to improve the centre, not only for the good of our nursery but for the centre has a whole, and this included securing over £40,000 funding for a school age play area for the public on a waste piece of land to the back of the centre! This along with much more funding for new windows, doors and more... to be honest she is a very dynamic woman my mum :)

and would have been perfect for the chair role. Maybe im biased lol

 

Anyway so as a bit of sour grapes and regrettably so.. we kinda left the committee and wanted to leave them too it.. and at this time is when a local councillor was "helping" out the centre and bringing in support for the newly elected so called Chair.

 

Now all the other committee members are all friendly "clicky" so support the chairlady pretty much. So it would be very awkward to say the least to see how they feel.

 

It is the AGM next week and we are hoping to get back onto the committee as members at least, and it has been a long time coming!

 

The VOTE of no confidence sounds great.. but like mentioned it would probably not work. You see all these "members" have nothing to lose really, and the centre is doing VERY LITTLE for the local community!!! SO frustrating

 

Yes we need to do more, and maybe its too late, and we have been stupid for just sitting back and taking all this!

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Can you speak directly to the council? They might not be aware of the situation you're in and maybe would be able to help. I'd bring up your concerns at the AGM to, but write to the committee beforehand so they have answers, ask that you concerns be part of the agenda and minuted. Good luck :)

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Yes we have tried speaking to the council for a few reasons in the past, and it is pretty difficult to get anywhere, or we get passed from one department to another. I suppose we should bombared them with everything, and to be honest this is what i want to do, but it is not my sole decision and my mum is reluctant to do so. It is a local councillor who has much involvment already.. and to be honest is pulling the strings of the chair lady! This councillor seems to have access to a lot of data within the council, and i will leave it at that for now, i don't like to assume things to much.

 

I have written a letter of complaint from me personally that i want to give to the comittee before the AGM, but with past experiences have shown me, it will be the next committee meeting where these things will be addressed and not at the AGM! Yes a badly run committee!

 

There is a deeper story to why this newly elected local councillor (yes 2 years ago) has so much involvment in the community centre, but i dont want to divulge this here! Well i do but it wouldn't be fair to.

 

So as you can tell it is has though we are against the committee and local councillors, when all we want is to be along side them and supported by them. Afterall it is the children that could suffer, and we are the only nursery in a very deprived area!

 

Yes its a really bad situation, which we need to put a stop to once and for all, but time is running out!

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Could you ask your early years advisor to work on your behalf or are you part of the Pre-school Learning Alliance? You could always go to the local newspaper too, either to tell them of your fears or to invite them to an event. Newspapers like pictures and stories of children, especailly this time of year when news can be a bit flat, with people gong on holidays, no bad snow reports to clog up the newsroom!

Make yourself visible and popular with the whole community get them on your side, let them know what might happen and how it will affect them if the community centre closed.

You might also apply to the LEA, most are working hard to make sure they have enough places for under 5s, so the threat of you closing might make them help out.

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Yes i think the route we need to go is via our Early Years Advisors as we are part of the ROQ now anyway to improve our setting to a Ofsted good grade (not been graded for nearly 5 years) so we are already working closely with our local authority in this area. We have never thought to mention our worries to them, and it is a great idea, and seems fairly obvious now you mentioned it!

 

I have never really been interested in Politics or cared to get involved, but it looks like the last few years have made me very interested. Suspicions of to how and why we have been treated so badly by not only the committee, by certain departments of our local council, councillors have been wondering around my mind, maybe its paranoia or me going clinically insane, i don't know but something isn't right, and things need to be sorted!

 

Don't you think the only nursery in the local deprived area is important? According to a statement made by the Chair Lady in a meeting a year ago "nurseries ain't that important" so this is what we are dealing with!

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Don't you think the only nursery in the local deprived area is important?

 

Yes I do Mr B. :1b

 

With regard to the AGM - it is my understanding that this must be widely 'advertised' and that any items under AOB notified to the Committee Secretary before the start of the meeting (for preference I would make that a.s.a.p.) must be addressed at this meeting - not in any future 'closed' meeting.

 

I'm genuinely sorry that you are having such a hard time. Do contact your LA early years team. Do get yourselves on that committee if at all possible. Please come back and let us know how you get on.

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Definitely get your Advisor on board. With no other provision in teh area they might be duty to bound to help sustainability and that might mean premises.

You are probably already of aware of this, but I thought I'd link to Bolton Childcare sufficiency site http://www.bolton.gov.uk/website/pages/Childcaresufficiency.aspx

 

And this might be interesting http://www.bolton.gov.uk/sites/DocumentCentre/Documents/Bolton%20Childcare%20Sufficiency%202011.pdf

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Is the community centre a charity......The charity commission may be interested if so. We have problems with our village hall at times. I wanted to hire the hall so I could increase the number of sessions we do and was told I can't because other organisations in the village MAY want to use it. I challenged this....to no avail but I wanted to know what was important to the committee based upon their constitution...were they interested in hiring the hall for revenue or to meet potential community needs.

 

the result will be that the hall will lose us as it's biggest hirer and may not be sustainable when we have gone. (new purpose built nursery on the cards in the next couple of years).

 

These blinking committee people can really bring you down at times.....it's a generation thing in our case.....village elders not wanting to move on without even trying to understand the changing needs of Early Years. If the WI however want to change something......no problem :angry:

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Hi my understanding is that anyone can put themselves forward for a position within the committee,but must state a possible conflict of interest iif anything is to be discussed with regard to them specifically.

However as you are talking about a community centre surely all those interested in it have an interest in its survival.

I would certainly try to get your Early Years team on board as well as the wider community too.

Have you spoken to your local MP or councillors at all someone might want to help resolve this with you.

Good luck, keep us posted

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Hi, we work very closely with the EYA's but believe it or not never mentioned it to them :( so i have now taken your advice and emailed them with our concerns :D and i am awaiting a reply. Thank you all for your support, and it really means a lot. You have all hit the nail on the head to be honest, which makes me feel like i am no longer alone with these problems!

 

DebbieW - Yes it is a registered Charity and your experiences basically mirror ours and i can not believe it!! You will understand our frustrations more than others having experienced these annoying committee and problems yourself. I am now also thinking of contacting the charity commission as mentioned.

 

THANKS AGAIN!

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Guest SamG

If you rent the room, who do you pay rent to?

Committee or council?

Do you have a rental agreement or lease?

I'd address your concerns to your landlord be that the committee or the council.

Good luck x

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My preschool rented the community building which was run as a charity. As such all users had a right to representation on the committee although most didn't take up the offer. Obviously the constitution of the particular building committee could be different but it may be available on the charity commission website for you to view.

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thinking about it , our village hall has the same, all users have a 'voice' on the committee... in our village most regular users do actually take this up. Worth checking their constitution..

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I'm secretary for our Village Hall committee (looking after my own interests here)........we had our AGM this week - yet again, despite our pleas no one from the village attended the meeting - the committee has had the same members for years - (apart from those who have sadly passed away).......this is not of 'our' choosing we would all really like some new people to come forward. The youngest two committee members are in their forties, there are two of us in our fifties and wait for it the others are all over seventy.......

 

I really hope that it is the case that villagers see the village hall ticking over and being 'managed' fairly satisfactorily and not because they think we are a clique who wouldn't extend a warm welcome to new members......

 

That all seems a bit pointless now I've typed it - suppose my point was that there could be many reasons why such a committee could be considered as being in some way 'exclusive' but that may not be the truth of the matter.

 

Get yourself on to this committee and be friendly and helpful - I'm sure that they will soon begin to understand the sense in keeping you in their building - hope so anyway :1b

 

Because I'm in such a small village - almost everyone on our committee has had a child or grandchild with me at some time or another :1b so that has of course 'paved the way' for me - but in addition I do work tirelessly for the committee not only as committee secretary but also in the role of bookings clerk :1b

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Yes we used to be on the committee, and my mum used to be secretary, but this all stopped when the new chair lady took over and declared nobody has has a business in the centre can hold a position on the committee, except of course committee members. Maybe this was overlooked before the new chair was appointed. I have not seen the constitution for a while, and i know it has been updated recently too. You will understand, just like me it is not easy for these committee members to give up their free time to do something for the community and i respect them for it. It is just when they do such a bad job, basically because they have nothing to lose, and they are given this power over a building that we need to be successful, in order for our nurseries future to be certain. It would be best to work along side such each other, but it just seems they have wanted us out from day 1!

 

Thanks again

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Wishing you luck Mr B :1b

 

Get a look at that constitution if you can - sounds to me like this woman could be 'making it up as she goes along' :ph34r:

 

Its what I do!! :ph34r:

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