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Church Hall settings - advice please


MarshaD
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I am considering setting up provision in a church hall.

I am curious to know what facilities people offer; what legal status owners have adopted; how people are managing lunch clubs; and just any other information that you think would be useful to know...

Look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi :)

The facilities will depend on your church hall and what your church hall committee allow. We have never had a formal rental agreement, despite being there since the 1960s because the church wont give us one.We open 4 mornings and 2 afternoons, the halls used by toddler group, WI and a couple of other groups. We don't do a lunch club because we've never been asked for one and staff weren't keen.

We don't have free flow but have had a garden area for about 18 months.

We're committee run with charitable status, we work to the PLA constitution.

I'm not sure what else I can tell you but others will no doubt have good advice

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Hi not church hall based but a village community hall. We have a 15 year contract with them, as a condition of previous funding for work to the premises.

A condition was also to become an incorporated company, of which we still have charitable status.

I did used to run a Brownie pack many moons ago in a church hall, I would certainly suggest you find out what the church beliefs are on fundraising ie: alcohol on the premises, raffles, race nights etc.

Our lunch clubs are run on three days per week between 12.00 and 1.00pm. The children bring their own lunch and drink.

It is very popular and the children absolutely love it.

 

Good luck with this.:)

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Church Hall - no contract but have been running for over 48 years.

Very much a 'give and take' scenario ;)

They can be very helpful when you need help, eg if money not good they reduce our rent until we can pay - but equally they can be very 'set in their ways' when it comes to being flexible to the mess children make!

 

One thing I would definitely do is join their committee - you will get to know who else, and what else goes on in the hall and get to hear any gripes straight away and hopefully nip them in the bud ;)

 

Oh and however much storage space they are going to give you, push for double :D

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I am privately run I rent from the Salvation Army a hall virtually for our own use - toddler group in there a couple of times per week and a children's church group on Sundays. We do have a formal rental agreement taken out 11 years ago and rent has only been increased once in all that time. They are very caring towards us they do not make demands upon

us, I consult with them when I want to make a change to anything and they rarely if ever have said no. We have lunch club 3 times a week and depending upon numbers keep 3 members of staff on at least

Edited by Panders
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Like Panders I am a private setting running my outfit from a church hall. Have been there nearly 10 years and would echo what others have said about it being v. much a two way thing.

 

We make sure hall, loos etc. all clean and tidy for the next hall user - moan (but v. carefully) when hall is not as we would expect to find it, put the bins out for the bin collection and cajole to get some of the bigger more expensive things done e.g., paint the hall.

 

However on the plus side we have over the years negotiated to use more of the church grounds for the children's playground and are able to use the church for the children to tell the Nativity story.

 

As more and more church clubs have folded we have been able to offer longer hours and now do a session which is 9.00am to 2.00pm which incorporates lunch 5 days a week. We can also leave our kit up overnight most evenings which is a real benefit.

 

We have also made sure that we get to know other hall users personally and build up a good working relationship with them as it also helps e.g., we can leave our kit at the back of the hall when the panto group are rehearsing rather than pack the lot away mid-week.

 

Also as more of the church clubs have folded we have become the major source of income which has given us a bit more clout which we use judiciously.

 

The hall is run by the PCC so I don't sit on a committee - I have found it also pays to be polite and respectful to parishioners as this also helps them see the setting in a positive light.

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Like Panders and Sue I will be a major user so that gives me a lot of flexibility with regards to number / length of sessions. I will check out storage / setting up issue, as less setting up is always better! I also need to try and negotiate length of contract as they're being a bit evasive at the mo.

 

I am also trying to make links with a local school to see about offering wraparound care.

 

Great to hear that people are managing to keep their provision open Rea and Thumperrabbit wow!

 

Thanks for all your advice and input. So much to think about!

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Hi run in a church hall for many yrs. it is very much seen as a community setting and has always had good support from the church.

Although I have to adhere to some things my PCC is very understanding. I after all provide a service and some regular income.

The church own the nursery, I manage it.

We have free flow, we use the church for mooching around in, visiting ,looking at the beautiful paintings etc.

 

We can only open mornings as the hall is hired in the afternoon and is used all the time by many different groups.

 

I have spent a long time and effort into building relations with everyone and it has paid dividends .

 

The church is governed by the Diocese and therefore has to seek faculties for things such as a shed in the garden.

 

I love my bright hall with beautiful natural gardens and the old stunning church

 

Just to add I have to set up each morning but its good exercise :)))

Edited by Suer
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Yes I have to agree with Suer that setting up is good exercise - as long as you have enough time to set up before opening - for us this is a staff issue though, not a landlord issue.

The other good thing I feel about setting up each day is that no two days are ever the same, you might've got the same resources out sometimes but you can bet they will have moved place within the room.

 

Good luck with your plans :1b

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O yes there at 6 setting up listening to Chris Evans breakfast show, it takes me about an hour depending on how well it got put away!

 

I then go home shower, change breakfast go back about 8 and have a thoughtful 3/4 hour prior to other staff coming in, I do bit paperwork or reflection etc

Have to add only paid for an hour of it though, but hey it's my choice.

 

It does make the areas flexible if they are not working for different cohorts we can move round, I don't do this on a regular basis though,

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O yes there at 6 setting up listening to Chris Evans breakfast show, it takes me about an hour depending on how well it got put away!

 

I then go home shower, change breakfast go back about 8 and have a thoughtful 3/4 hour prior to other staff coming in, I do bit paperwork or reflection etc

Have to add only paid for an hour of it though, but hey it's my choice.

 

It does make the areas flexible if they are not working for different cohorts we can move round, I don't do this on a regular basis though,

 

Wow, now that is dedication - setting up, going home and then going back in again! :P

 

My two children are too young to be able to leave at home yet, but that is something that I would do too if I could.

 

It is very physically demanding being a total pack away group, and when you have time constraints you take short cuts which can at times be a little risky eg carrying things on your own when it should be a 2 person job

 

The other thing I would say if you are going to have staff make sure you have rotas so that the same person doesn't always end up doing all the packing away - so at the end of our session we finish with a story this allows 2 people to start to pack away I know if I didn't have a rota the same people would end up packing away which isn't fair

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Do people have separate areas for different ages?

 

Private owners are you sole traders?

 

I am a private owner - sole trader

 

Don't have the luxury of separate areas for different ages as we are a single room church hall. We have children aged between 2 and rising 5 and rather than separate our age groups out work as a whole "family group" which I prefer - after all with your own children you wouldn't have separated them out into separate rooms at home and they all learn so much from each other.

 

A colleague in a full day care setting in the neighbouring borough to me presented at an EYP day - she has converted her nursery from aged based rooms to a whole setting "family group" - babies through to rising 5s and she is a real advocate of this approach.

 

I will say that it pays to know in depth what kit you have - we have documented ours and know what resources work well together - this really helps when you are setting up for the day - especially when you have to bring all your kit up a flight of stairs from the basement to the hall floor!!!

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my only comment would be that you need to be aware that Churches can not generally grant leases on consecrated buildings, so in essence you just rent the space like any other user. That's fine in most instances, but you will have no protection if the Church decide they need the space back for other use...and you have no protection under the landlord and tennants act.

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I wouldn't have separate areas even if I could , we take 21/2 to 5 yrs, I like the mix

We do split into 3 small groups for story

 

Having Rota for putting cupboard away is key as thumperabbit said, not same person then

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