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Should we stay or should we go???

Discussion in 'Hall Management' started by Wenders, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Wenders

    Wenders Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I run a small Guide Unit with one other leader and currently we have our meetings in a local Community Centre, as do some of the other local Rainbow, Brownie and another Guide unit.
    We don't pay for the use of this facility and until recently have enjoyed: free use of the kitchen, occasional use of the other hall, free use of the photocopier, outside space in the school grounds (on request) and a small amount of storage (shared with another unit!)
    We've recently been informed that our storage space has been reduced further (eeek!) and we now no longer have any access to the kitchen!
    We can however gain access to one of the high schools Home Ec rooms for cooking/baking etc but have to give at least a week's notice.

    There is a local to us Guide Hall which we use frequently for sleepovers etc which sits in it's own grounds, has a BBQ and fire pit, storage and good kitchen facilities. I enquired about using this hall for our meetings and it shouldn't be a problem. It DOES cost though but only £2 per hour, which would equate to about £12-15 per month (£120 pa)

    It's not really any further away, and closer for some, so travel wouldn't be an issue.

    So, I'm having a dilemma about which to choose! I really like the idea of using the local Guide Hall for our unit meetings (no other unit uses it at all which seems a shame!) and not having to ask for kitchen space or doing any outside cooking/play etc would be an advantage, especially if we change plans at the last minute.
    BUT would we be foolish to give up a FREE space for one we have to pay for (albeit a small charge!)? Current storage is such an issue and I already have a ton of Guide stuff in my house and shed, and reducing it further would be a major pain! We wouldn't have massive storage in the Guide Hall, but certainly more than we do now!
    Photocopying shouldn't be a problem either, as I have facilities at home/work I can use and anyway, I'm trying to go all email anyway!!

    Any advice would be gratefully received thanks!
     
  2. chopperchick

    chopperchick Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    It's not a massive cost difference, so I'd make the comparisons excluding cost - so that one being free and the other not is not a consideration.

    If no-one else is using the guide hall, then it sounds like you might have more flexibility there, more chance to use the hall at other times, and more storage space?
    The kitchen area is probably not high on my list of priorities - over a term's / year's balanced programme, it's unlikely to be a massive deciding factor?? Having said that, it's handy to have!

    Depends if there's anything that would sway you one way or the other.
     
  3. fenris

    fenris fenris GuiderPlus

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    Up until now you've been lucky with the Community Centre being so generous. Is it in writing in your booking that these facilities are all to be provided free, or is it just that the Committee members have verbally allowed/encouraged you to help yourself - because if it's not in writing, then they do reserve the right to change the terms (such as kitchen access or amount of storage allocated), or, indeed, to start charging a fee. If you have a written agreement, then I'd suggest the rent-free status is worth a lot, and the week's notice for kitchen use not exactly onerous - you'd almost certainly know the week before whether you had a cooking activity planned. There aren't many halls which can subsidise users to that extent!

    The Guide hall may only be £2 per hour just now, but might the cost be due to be reveiewed soon? Would you have a written agreement setting out how much storage space and access to facilities you would have, whether you would be committed to other things (e.g. helping with hall fundraising, maintenance or spring cleans), whether you would be guaranteed sole use?

    I think the other thing to consider is goodwill - if you moved without giving a reasonable notice period, would it cause ill feeling locally?
     
  4. littlerainbow

    littlerainbow Rainbow Leader

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    Slightly OT, but how does the Guide Hall not have units meeting there?
    Does it makes its money from sleepovers & outside users?

    Will the Guide hall be warm in the winter? Is it modern?
     
  5. Quack

    Quack Veteran (100+ posts) Staff Member Moderator GuiderPlus

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    If the Guide Hall is available and offers you flexibility on your programme and storage etc I'd be tempted to go for it even if it does cost the unit. You can adjust your subs if necessary and consider that the usage of the Guide Hall may help the ongoing costs of the hall.

    I would however sit down and have a discussion on how costs etc may influence your payments, eg if the winter heating bills are are shared out amongst the users, will you have to foot the bill for that? Will you be expected to help with the cleaning and maintenance ? Are you willing to get involved in the overall management ?
     
  6. Wenders

    Wenders Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Fenris-the goodwill factor is my main issue I feel! We sign a let agreement each year but groups such as those within Guiding are allowed to use the facilities free of charge (as far as I'm aware: I was 'persuaded' to join guiding by another leader who is on the Management Committee so I'm not sure if there is any other influence there!) and they've been really good to us over the last few years. We've even had money donated to the unit, especially when we started up!

    Littlerainbow and Quack: I don't know why no other groups uses the hall but they do cover their oats from sleepovers etc and there are other groups that use it during the day occasionally! It's been renovated and is warm and functional etc however I didn't delve into potential running costs when I enquired. The answer re cost was a simple £2 per hour!

    I've also realised that we get to use the community minibus at an excellent rate and I don't know if that would change if we moved venue!

    Mmmm, perhaps I've answered my own question.....
     
  7. Wenders

    Wenders Veteran (100+ posts)

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    That should have said 'costs' not oats! Damn autocorrect!
     
  8. shackademus

    shackademus Veteran (100+ posts)

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    initially the move sounds great but £2 an hour will realistically be £4 a week so i guess you need to draw up the other pro's and con's, will you pay electric on top, how often do you use the minibus. alternatively could you rent a little storage space at the guide hall or would that not be practical
     
  9. Tawnyowl51

    Tawnyowl51 Veteran (100+ posts)

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    whatever you decide to do I think you are very lucky either way.

    We pay £28.50 per meeting, and although we do get to use the hall, school field and playground, and a cupboard, it is not cheap and we have subs at £30 per term inc. census to reflect it.
     
  10. Wenders

    Wenders Veteran (100+ posts)

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    Ooof! Yea, having read some other posts about hall costs etc I think we are indeed very lucky!! And we only charge £15 per term too! But I guess having free space can be reflected in that! :)
     
  11. Rachael.Innes

    Rachael.Innes Veteran (100+ posts)

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    I completely agree with everyone's comments, you need to way up the pro's and con's. I currently share a Scout and Guide hall and the scouts are not particularly respectful of other groups-leaving equipment out, blocking doors and moving our resources. We pay £200 a term (so £12-£13 a meeting) and that includes full use of the building and outside space and our own cupboard (although small, which we purchased)and also oil heating throughout the winter. I have toiled with the options of moving many times, but don't know if what we pay is reasonable for the space we have, but also for the hassle that the scouts create.
    Way up all your options and talk to your leadership team etc.
     

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