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Question? Could lose hall because of new promise

Discussion in 'Hall Management' started by Imogen, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Imogen

    Imogen Joint Activities Advisor

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    We rent our hall but are now being charged to use it because of the new promise, they are charging us for 52 weeks a year at £18ph

    we have rainbows and brownies that combined meet for roughly 4 hours (with gaps and that's what we're being charged) and guides that are being charged for 2 hours.

    what would you do? as it would either mean fundraising or raising subs.

    The scouts did recently move out of the church back in to their HQ, we were thinking of speaking to them to see if they'd be any help.
     
  2. fenris

    fenris fenris GuiderPlus

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    What does your lease say? If it's stated that the Promise has to mention God specificslly, fair enough, but oyherwise . . .

    Meantime I would look at alternatives to see ehat's on offer, and whether the Church's offrred rate is fair or not.
     
  3. culcheth1

    culcheth1 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I'd double check the terms of the lease like fenris suggests but I'd look round for other venues and move - the obviously don't want you there :(
     
  4. Wren

    Wren Mod Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    I am saddened by the title of your thread and would actually say that a misunderstanding of the Promise has led to rent being charged and so you are in the position that a lot of us are in, and have to budget that cost into subs or find it elsewhere.

    Have any of your leadership tried to talk to the church to explain what the new Promise actually means? There has been so much bad press about it that unless someone talks to them, they only have what they've heard or read to base their decision on. As others have said, have you an agreement or lease with them?

    I do feel that communication should be explored with them to see if a resolution can be reached, but if they are determined to charge you rent then this would need to be passed onto the parents via subs or a new venue found.
     
  5. newbe

    newbe Veteran (100+ posts)

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    apart from all the above which i agree with you need to mention that you do not meet for 52 weeks,
    and they are able to rent the room when you are on holiday.
    that to develop your beliefs helps the girls to learn more about her belief and that may include God......... (as well as other beliefs)
    when we just 'loved God' i bet most including my own pack did little to develop an understanding of what we believe in.

    not trying to open up more debates trying to help...
     
  6. chopperchick

    chopperchick Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    I would hope, as mentioned above, it's down to lack / poor communication or assumptions being made about the Promise and what it does and doesn't mean, such that a frank discussion could solve this.

    However, I suspect that few lease contracts worth their salt will actually say "you will get this free if you promise to say x, y and z; but it will cost you £18p/h if you don't say that". So, use that to your advantage - if the hall people want to change the rules with no discussion, it means you can too. If the discussion above doesn't work, use this as an opportunity to find somewhere that does work for you all - consider all options, each meeting in different venues or at different times that work better for you.

    On balance, however, it's a lesson for many units - rightly or wrongly, there's rarely much in life that's genuinely free. It costs money to run a hall, the heat and light you use still has to be paid for even if we don't pay direct rent ....... so someone else pays somehow. Often, it's easier all round to pay a reasonable commercial rate, than be tied into assumptions and commitments that don't really suit.
     
  7. Squirrel-Nutkin

    Squirrel-Nutkin The Wicked Witch of the West (15,000+ posts)

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    interesting

    I'm thinking there has been a misunderstanding too and an informal chat is the way to go and the way to clear this all up?

    Halls are very expensive to run now, heating and lighting have all increased as have insurance costs. So perhaps they just can't afford to offer hall for free any more and you've somehow linked this increase to the timing of the new promise wording?

    Also to be fair to the church, all they've probably heard about our new promise has been what has been in the press... and to be fair that has been incorrect and sensationalist? So taking time to explain it to them probably will clear things up too. I'm sure they realise we've been inclusive and girls have been inserting their own word for "god" and girlguiding asked up to interpret the wording of our old promise as very much a spiritual journey and appreciating the wonder of nature (don't forget the dandelion in the crack of pavement analogy they gave us...). They may not even realise what the new wording actually means? its worth pointing out that "develop my beliefs" for those of us that are christian is far more challenging than the old promise ever was, and surely that can only be a good thing for the church? (they'd want girls to be active over their beliefs surley?)

    Also your terms of hall hire, your legal agreement need to be checked out? did it specify a notice period for eviction or for increasing rent? did it say under what conditions rent would be free or would remain free? did it say "rent would only be free if promise wording didn't alter" ... hall hire agreements are legal documents and you can take them to court if agreements are being breached.

    Also check out GO... are you a sponsored unit or a closed unit? as that would make a difference

    Don't forget you'll have the press on your side too... no church would wish for headlines along lines of "church taken to court" or "church kicks out girls who are promising to develop their beliefs". Churches do a lot of good work for communities and thats why I do this this is a pure misunderstanding?

    And ultimately, if you now are going to be paying rent, that just really makes your unit now the same as the majority of units up and down the UK? Many of us are in that position and have to juggle subs to meet hall hire, badges, activities and census? Only last year my hall hire went up 216%, so as you can imagine that was a huge shock to us and we had to increase our subs! (and that is a church hall, but they explained to me that it was to meet increased insurance, heating, lighting and music licence costs). The price you are quoting is actually a fairly competitive price for peek evening rate for a lot of areas, but it might be worth your while comparing to other halls locally in your area to see if its the going rate or not...

    Could you, if you do need to start paying rent, ask them for a reduced rate for a while so that you can adjust finances over a longer period to make it easier for unit to remain viable? I'm sure if you explained your reasoning, they might be able to accommodate something to help you out too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  8. llanguides

    llanguides Regular (50+ posts)

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    iv heard recently that you can meet for free in any fire station (f you have one near you)
     
  9. chopperchick

    chopperchick Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Whilst it's true that most units don't meet all 52 weeks of the year, the issue is that if you're getting into commercial arrangements you may not be able to pick and choose everything. With a hall management hat on, if someone only wants a hall for maybe 30 out of 52 weeks, I've now to find someone who wants it for the other 22 weeks and split the costs 60 / 40 between the two parties...... otherwise I have to charge you more (proportionately) because my risk is the hall is empty (still incurring some costs but bringing in no income) for those other 22 weeks. So the alternative is that I charge you a "little" bit more - I take the risk of the hall being empty for the other weeks (as what's the chances of finding someone who wants exactly the weeks you don't??) but you get the benefit of the weeks you want.

    As I mentioned above, rarely is anything free - so if you're paying, you've got to know what you want to pay for and what's reasonable for you.
     
  10. susanr

    susanr Veteran (100+ posts)

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    If the reason for charging you is really to do with the change in the promise then like the others a bit of discussion is required, if you aren't a sponsored group, then I would bear in mind that we were never a christian organisation, we are a youth group that believes members should be supported in a faith, I would raise this in the disscusions. Everybodys costs have gone up lately and they may not be able to cover your use of the hall without some charge (£18 ph is a lot of heat and light though) and I would hope the messenger is confused about why the change has been made. However if it boils down to promise change then could this is not be racial discrimination or sectarianism it was alright for free use when they thought you were christian but not if you are another faith???
     
  11. chopperchick

    chopperchick Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Not necessarily any fire station - but yes, most new public facilities such as fire and police stations are now being built (or refurbished) to incorporate meeting rooms that the public can use. e.g. the fire station in my town is old and wouldn't have a meeting space, but the brand new police station has rooms specifically designed for community groups to use. So, be imaginative about meeting spaces - there's probably other public buildings (than the traditional school or village hall); are there any workplaces who may be open late /24 hours where use of their hall / meeting rooms would be an option? Sports hall at the gym - if you're meeting out with peak times or between scheduled classes?
     
  12. MandiG

    MandiG Veteran (100+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    We meet in a church hall. A couple of years ago they imposed a drastic rent increase. I went back to them and explained that we couldn't afford that so would have to find somewhere else. Result was that although we had an increase it was more manageable - so please speak to the church. Most of them are reasonable!
     
  13. Snowy Pink Owl

    Snowy Pink Owl The Doctor (5000+ posts) GuiderPlus

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    Could you speak to the person who's in charge of the rent, etc. I'm sure this could be worked out as it seems silly to me that someone would charge you a high rent because of a change in promise. Check in your agreement to see whether they can actually do this with the promise being the reason. I'd also speak to the scouts in case you can't solve the problems at your church hall. Hope you get everything sorted out
     
  14. shackademus

    shackademus Veteran (100+ posts)

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    i would ask to speak to whoever makes the decisions and explain that the new promise is about exploring the faith and develpoing beliefs and being welcoming to everyone

    but i would also be looking into where else you can meet at what cost.
     
  15. Wren

    Wren Mod Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Our local fire station has a community room that we used to use for District meetings. It is free, but there are limitations. The space is very limited, has a huge table in the middle of the room and no outside space. You are also unable to book the room too far in advance as they have to leave space open to be fair to all trying to book the room. Having said that, if you found yourself without a meeting room you could certainly use it temporarily.

    There is a Rainbow unit in my area who use our local library to meet. Their meeting room was unsuitable due to size and tables etc, but they use the reference part of the library when it is closed.
     
  16. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    I wonder if this charge is to do with the new promise or if since the Scouts have moved out the remaining users have to take on a larger share of the costs.

    Definately worth a conversation with the committee that run these things, not necessarily just one person as you need to get the message over to the group.
     
  17. Imogen

    Imogen Joint Activities Advisor

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    we've had it in writing it is to do with the promise, the scout where only ever at the church because work was going on their HQ.
    We aren't the only units it's happening to either.
     
  18. Brown9

    Brown9 Regular (50+ posts)

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    Have you inform Headquarters about this. We mentioned this would happen during and after the consultation and it was ignored.
     
  19. Cazbly

    Cazbly Darth Vader (12,500+ posts)

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    But have you spoken to them? Have you sat down and explained to them fully what it means - have you correlated it to their faith - their belief in God ... "explore my beliefs"?

    Ok - if there is a kneejerk reaction from them, try and rebuild the bridges.... find a sympathetic Christian to help you along that route!
     
  20. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    Then I think a carefully worded letter to the Church as a whole is required, explaining the thinking behind the promise change, how the people have misunderstood the ethos of Guiding for years if they believed it was purely for Christians. How faith and belief are still part of our programme but it has broadened to encompass those that do not have a religous belief.

    I think the church hall organisers and the wider Church congregation need to be educated as to what Guiding is really about and how you and the Church can work together for a mutual benefit, not just listen to some biased half truth that someone may have heard on the TV...

    Sorry turned into a bit of a rant...
     

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