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Last updated 8th March 2022

Community Use of Church Buildings

Many churches offer their premises for hire to outside groups and organisations.

Concerts, keep-fit classes, youth clubs, business meetings - even kick-boxing classes and skateboarder drop-in centres are some of the examples of how churches and church halls are being used today. In addition to helping the church to reach out into the local community, this can generate a useful source of income.

Ecclesiastical Insurance provide useful guidance for parishes who are considering hiring out their premises. 

Some factors to consider when setting the rental cost (per hour/week etc):

  • what is the hourly cost of heating and lighting the space? Do you have a different rate for summer vs winter hire?
  • do you need to pay for a caretaker to open/close the building, or will you give the hirer a set of keys?
  • do you need to pay for a cleaner, or will you expect the hirer to hoover/mop/wipe?
  • do you include an allowance for wear and tear of the building (and equipment, including chairs)
  • is the hirer an individual, a charitable/community cause (eg police community support officer drop-in) or a commercial organisation (eg Slimmers World)?
  • are there competitor spaces that your hirer could use nearby and what do they charge?
  • will you give a discount to a regular user?

A draft church hall lettings policy is here

Sustainability in a broader sense also embraces the idea of how church buildings can be used in a variety of ways in order to sustain their existence. 

Hereford Diocese have produced a really helpful toolkit called 'crossing the threshold' available for any churches wanting to explore wider community use for their buildings. 

There are some excellent examples of good practice in this respect across the Diocese, such as Afternoon Tea in at Yealand Conyers St. John (below)  



and the community gym at Warton St. Oswald parish Hall (below).

For advice about potential use of church buildings for community use, please contact Jen Read, Senior Church Buildings Officer on or 07899 348952.