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Help! Our meeting place is closing!


Regular (50+ posts)
We have just been told that the playgroup rooms that our Rainbows have been meeting at for 25 years are not going to be available from September, so we will need to find somewhere new! Panic stations!!!

The playgroup is being taken over by a Stepping Stones nursery, and they are planning after-school clubs so hall would not be available until 6.45pm, too late for a Rainbow start.

We are investigating whether the primary school will let us have use of a mobile classroom, but they've never been keen before as it would involve either giving us keys or paying the caretaker to lock up after us (although new Head teacher so fingers crossed!) and the village hall is out as it doesn't have a regular night that is free.

We have made enquiries with the Scouts about using ther hut before (when there was building work at the playgroup) but they also weren't keen (I don't know why, we're very nice!) I know the Scout leader and he's a bit of an awkward so-and-so (to put it nicely) and he spouted something about their insurance not covering it, think this was just because he didn't want the hassle.

So...my question is two-fold:

1. Does anyone meet at a Scout Hut? How does it work in regards to insurance/rent/maintenance duties?
2. Does anyone meet somewhere not mentioned above? We run in a very small rural village, so I can't think of any other public buildings - but maybe I'm missing something obvious?

Any help/ideas gratefully received!


Hard to advise on what's available from the outside, but options to consider:
Local pubs/sports clubs - would they have a function room or hall which you could hire?
Library community room?
Church or Church Hall?
Shop basement/attic?
Local school - hall, gym hall or classroom?
Local factory or warehouse?
Local nursery school or playgroup?


Veteran (100+ posts)
We meet in a school, and have our own key. They used to have a cleaner who'd lock up after us, but after she left the bursar is meant to come and check we've turned the lights off and doubled locked the doors. We have use of toilets, playground, and kettle, microwave and sink/tap. I'm not sure if it's just our county, but we get subsidized by the local council under a "Community use of school" scheme - means our rent is only £6 an hour. It does mean we have no storage space, no display boards, and every so often get kicked out due to meetings or disrupted due to parent's evenings.

Guides in the nearby town own a building where they, brownies, rainbows etc meet, as well as other groups. However it's officially maintained by a seperate committee, so they still pay rent, but if they want to use it out of normal meetings they can use it free, even for division level stuff. They have three attached garages for camping equipment, and storage space at the top end of the hall.

I don't see why their insurance wouldn't cover you though. I'd ask to see a copy of the insurance document and what it actually says, and whether it specifically mentions it covers use by Scout groups only. Plus, Guiding have their own insurance - surely it would cover it? The school we meet at accepts the documents for liability on the GG website.


Veteran (100+ posts)
In our District we have a Rainbow Unit and a Guide Unit meeting at the local Scout Centre. They charge us hourly rent and each Unit has a key.
Insurance problems have never been mentioned and they are supportive of us using their premises

How about doing a google search of a 5 mile radius - may throw up things you didn't know were there.


SGP Enthusiast
We meet in a church hall, have you looked into any of those in the area? We do have groups who meet in Scout huts with no issues...

If there's a primary school... Is there a secondary school you could try, or somewhere with a 'function' room (pub/hotel etc) I've heard of groups even meeting in special 'community' rooms in supermarkets


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
I would look at Church or chapel premises, also I would speak to other Scout leaders. Most Scout or Guide owned premises have a management committee and it's not down to one individual whether bookings are accepted.

If you can work around their timetables, most are keen for more users as it means more income.

Where do other units meet?


Regular (50+ posts)
Thanks for the responses guys, will look into potential options. I think the school may be willing to help us out, and with the Community Use of Schools subsidy that IvyN mentioned this should be affordable! Thanks for that! Only issue we have is not sure if the mobile classroom has toilets, more investigation needed.

Will definitely make more enquiries with the Scouts, as I was of the same opinion as above that our insurance should cover it. Will try going through the Cub leader, he's much nicer!

I'm not sure there is a church room, can't think of one but will ask the Vicar. Secondary schools aren't an option as the village is very rural, the nearest secondary school is in the next suburb and there are multiple Rainbow/Brownies units inbetween us and there! Likewise to shops/libraries/function rooms, there simply aren't any. There are next to no facilities in the village, hence why we're desperate to keep the unit running without moving too far!


Veteran (100+ posts)
If your village is anything like ours the village pub may have a function room you can borrow. Our village pub is shut on a Monday so we know that's allways there as an option. Other thing perhaps is to put a note round the village. I know one or two houses in my relatively small village who have converted out buildings that are sat empty - granny flats etc! Not ideal but perhaps worth a go. I know a brownie group in the next village met in a granny annex for a number of years when the Village Hall shut down


Veteran (100+ posts)
Our Rainbows meet at a Scout Hut. It helps that the head Scouter is married to the Guide Guider so we get equal say etc. We pay rent to the Scout Group who own the building andtry and help with any fundraising/upkeep.
We meet in a Scout Hut had have done so for over 30 years. Originally we did not pay rent, but helped out with PSA fund raising, but now this part of the group have disbanded we pay a quarterly rent. We also have our own den for storage of equipment. Insurance has never been mentioned, as would assume that Girlguiding liability insurance would cover this - might be worth checking with HQ. Not too sure that this would cover our equipment but the Scouts have buildings insurance etc.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We meet in a Scout Hall. We pay them rent at 'friends rate' eg reduced from rate they charge for parties, other group. They are very nice our scouts :)
Benefit for us is hall is designed for use by scouts, so toilets not near entrance, secure gate to road etc. we also have lots of lovely storage.
We moved here recently after meeting at a school for many years. Problems with school were mainly lack of storage and girls wandering off into classrooms, other adults eg cleaners being about.
The Scout hut will have public liabilty insurance when hiring out. Your census pays for Girlguiding insurance. Equipment is not insured anywhere other than home insurance at Guiders homes. So think the scout master just doesn't want you there.
Ask for the name of the management committee and write a letter. Stress you are willing to muck in with a Hut spring cleaning etc.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Our local fire station wants community groups to use their meeting rooms. I think they have some sort of funding loophole, but it works for us!


Veteran (100+ posts)
We have recently moved from the library to a function room in the local working men's club. It was a forced, temporary move while the library roof was replaced, but the girls enjoyed having much more space, so we stayed. There are very few events booked in function rooms on Mondays, which is our meeting day. Also, we have a small room for storage behind the stage (and yes, the girls are very excited to have use of a stage!). It costs £10 a night, and it doesn't matter if we are running late or want extra time. If you have a local pub, it's worth asking if they have a function room that you can use.