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Feeling dismayed!


MegaMum
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Our pre-school runs out of a Village Hall. Last year the hall had a major refurb and was extended to accomodate the community centre. This was 6 months of major disruption for us.

 

Two weeks after all the construction was done, a grand opening etc, we received a rent increase of just under 60%. I was very angry to say the least and I challenged it and it was reduced to 32%. Still a massive increase I thought.

 

On Tuesday, I received a letter increasing our rent another 11%! This is a 43% increase in a year equating to nearly £1500. I know our rent is reasonable, but we are a rural village hall and how can this be justified?

 

I think we are being made to subsidise the other users, such as the seniors lunch club, toddler group etc who aren't paying their fair share. Two senior lunch clubs a week run the ovens for hours, dishwashers, heating etc etc.

 

I know electric and gas prices have increased... but £1500 a year, just for us who are only open 3 hours each day and one afternoon for 2.5 hours?

 

The problem is ... small village, everyone involved in everything, so there is no where to go to complain, so not sure what to do. No other premises available. All I know, is we just can't afford this unreasonable increase.

Edited by MegaMum
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Crikey Megamum, it just cannot get any worse can it?! This is just NOT what you need on top of all the other juggling you/we do to survive. Can you write to your Parish Council asking what the village would do for early years if it forced you to close? Quote the fact that the government is desperately trying to increase providers - not close them due to unacceptable rent hikes! I'd put letters out to all your parents too, maybe get them to back you - your a big part of your village community - let them know its in danger of losing it!!

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I wonder if they think you're making a healthy profit and can afford to subsidise the other groups. Perhaps a letter to let them know that you're in danger of becoming unsustainable if they insist on the this increase would get them to rethink?

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Another point for them to consider is that if you fold, they lose their main regular reliable income. It's difficult situation as I am assuming that you are both charities so will both have a responsibility to make the most from your assets? You are however, providing a valuable asset for the children and families of the village, at the moment! Good luck!

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Agree with Upsy they probably think you are making a small fortune - that is how we are portrayed in the media.......

 

I am Hon. secretary for our hall management committee - this to protect my own interests - I am completely open about how funding works, what our overheads are etc. etc.

 

How is your building managed - is there a committee or is your Parish Council?

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Hi is your Village hall run by a Parish Council or other body. We have a hall hire tariff on a large notice board that shows everybody the pricing structure.

That does seem a huge increase. I think I would be writing a letter questioning this decision.

Wish you well with this.

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There is a management committe and some of them are on the parish council... or very well connected with it! They do have rental rates in their office, but this seems to fluctuate depending who you are, who you know etc. They keep me in the dark, obviously, but I do know from the minutes that the lunch club have 'decided to voluntarily contribute £50 per quarter to help with the bills!' We have just been raised £50 a month!!!! Again, the chair of the Village Hall committee helps with these groups. All rather incestious and I am cross because I don't know where to go with this. Hubby says to tell them we are having a solicitor look at the atrocious increase. If the 30 hours comes in God help, we will be paying mortage rates!

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PS... At the last rent increase I fought really hard and told them how much we get per hour from county etc etc. They just think because we are full this term and I have opened on another afternoon to accomodate parents wishes, we are bringing in lots of dosh. When in fact we all know Autumn term will be a different matter with lower numbers and this term has to carry next term.

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Our pre-school runs out of a Village Hall. Last year the hall had a major refurb and was extended to accomodate the community centre. This was 6 months of major disruption for us.

 

Two weeks after all the construction was done, a grand opening etc, we received a rent increase of just under 60%. I was very angry to say the least and I challenged it and it was reduced to 32%. Still a massive increase I thought.

 

On Tuesday, I received a letter increasing our rent another 11%! This is a 43% increase in a year equating to nearly £1500. I know our rent is reasonable, but we are a rural village hall and how can this be justified?

 

I think we are being made to subsidise the other users, such as the seniors lunch club, toddler group etc who aren't paying their fair share. Two senior lunch clubs a week run the ovens for hours, dishwashers, heating etc etc.

 

I know electric and gas prices have increased... but £1500 a year, just for us who are only open 3 hours each day and one afternoon for 2.5 hours?

 

The problem is ... small village, everyone involved in everything, so there is no where to go to complain, so not sure what to do. No other premises available. All I know, is we just can't afford this unreasonable increase.

 

I would tell them that you cannot afford it. We had to do this with the hall we hire. We were struggling with numbers at the time and we basically said that we were on the verge of closure and needed their help. They were a bit panicked when they realised that they might lose their biggest hirer and actually ended up not only scrapping the increase (wasn't as big an increase as you are getting mind you), but actually reducing our fees to try and help us. We also wanted to try afternoon sessions in case this increased our numbers and they let us hire for the afternoons at no extra cost as they couldn't afford to lose us.

 

In fact that was a couple of years ago, we are now almost full and they haven't started charging us yet!

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We're expecting a rent increase, I'm crossing my fingers now that it wont be ridiculous!

Have you got last years accounts you can show them? Our treasurer does a forecast, basically adds 10% to the things that are likely to rise during the next year so we have some idea of outgoing, plus takes an approximation of numbers for each term.

God luck ?

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what does you agreement say? it is not normal for rent increase to be given out 'willy-nilly' most would be on a schedule with notice periods for either party. I would certainly be requesting a meeting asap (its much more difficult for people to give bad news face to face) for that meeting I would have an audited set of accounts for them and a budget for the next year....this should include all your expected increases (pensions/wages/etc) plus the ability to make a small profit for reserves (at least 6%net).

If the other users are registered businesses with charitable status you will be able to look up their financial status online

The village hall should also be registered and you can see what their income/expenditure is. Are they using you to subsidise their problems for instance?? If you pull out would they be able to find enough business to fulfil the gap created? (17.5 hours during the day is quite tricky and they may need to spend money on advertising and would need additional time to 'sell' space and invoice other users.

There are lots of advantages to them having you as a regular user and because of this you should be given a lower rate .

If you really can't afford it then prove that to them. I have had to explain to our landlords MANY times how we are funded and how it works...they have come back with some ridiculous ideas that they have picked up from negative stories in the press....they told me to become a private enterprise so that I could charge what I liked!!!!!

Only my thoughts.....hate people trying to squash the little guys.....if possible I would also try and rally support from the village ...can you creep to any of the bigwigs and use that relationship! :o

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We don't have an agreement or contract!!!! The pre-school has been there since 1983 and prior to that I think it was more of a Mum/ Toddler group. I have looked at what they file with the charities commission and they aren't being truthful as I know one of the old members left them a lot of money when she died and this has been invested somewhere. Not sure where.

 

It's very tricky, because the people who manage the Village Hall know everyone in the village, and they are involved in other things such as the school (governors) church, WI, lunch clubs, parish council etc.

 

I just found out yesterday the toddler group is only paying £8 per three hour session!!! She said that is because they were originally at the community centre which has closed and moved to the VH. I would imagine the lunch clubs, soup kitchen etc. will be subsidised (by us!!!) and they are in for 3.5 hours twice a week using ovens, dishwashers, heating for the elderly, etc.

 

I will be drafting my letter of protest this weekend and also stating that we should all be paying our fair share. It has remained the VH not the VH and Community Centre.

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Am I right in calculating that you are now being asked to pay £5.24 per hour (assumes you operate for 38 weeks, and assumes I have interpreted your data correctly?)

 

Seems incredibly reasonable to me....sorry? But then I pay more than £22 per hour?

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No eyfs1966 your calculations aren't correct, we pay more than that. Our rent is reasonable, I have never disputed that. What I don't agree with is a 43% increase in a year. I don't think we can start to compare rental rates as they vary so much depending where you live, what type of building you are in etc. I don't object to an increase, but I do object to it not being across the board and for all hall users to pay their fair share.

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The more I read threads like this the more I believe that the current funding system is rubbish. The government need to pay for rent (control and monitor it's fairness), cover expenses such as for craft and art, storage, units (probably in a proportion of number of children attending) and fair salary (according to qualifications and experience). In many countries Early years establishments are funded this way so why in the UK it is different?

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No eyfs1966 your calculations aren't correct, we pay more than that. Our rent is reasonable, I have never disputed that. What I don't agree with is a 43% increase in a year. I don't think we can start to compare rental rates as they vary so much depending where you live, what type of building you are in etc. I don't object to an increase, but I do object to it not being across the board and for all hall users to pay their fair share.

I'm certainly in agreement with you...our landlord wanted another 70% on top of what we pay, and wanted to make us packaway......hence why we are closing down!!

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