The Methodist Church has issued guidelines about the opening of premises for external groups and this can be found on the TMCP website. There is also useful information regarding the licencing information about lettings. We obviously have to abide by the Government legislation that is ongoing at the time regarding the meeting of large groups.
The final decision of whether or not to open the church premises is made by the Managing Trustees (the Church Council) and they (you) need to be sure that your building is safe and that you are following all the guidelines and that you have weighed up all the pros and cons before reaching your decision. It was felt by the Property Group that priority should be given to Church groups e.g. Boy’s Brigade, Scouts, Guides, Young People’s groups
The Group discussed the following issues:
- You will be fulfilling a social need; much has been said about the mental health issues surrounding isolation
- You will be earning rent
- You will need to complete a risk assessment with the group leader (it is possible that that these associations may have a set of guidelines to follow)
- If there is not a gap of 72 hours between meetings and/or Church services a thorough clean will be required
- Who will be responsible for this – professional cleaners (who will pay?) – or volunteers
- Do you have enough volunteers below the age of 70 to support these activities opening without extending yourselves too much
- Can the 2m social distancing rule be applied at all times
- Some groups e.g. Slimming World/Weight Watchers will have their own risk assessments and procedures and may well have sufficient funding to support the work required for their members to be safe
- Records of risk assessments will need to be signed and dated by all parties to ensure that we all know where our responsibilities lie, and copies of those risk assessments should be sent to the Property Group for circuit records.
The Property Group reminds the Managing Trustees that they have the final decision and the responsibility to ensure that the church and the people who may be using it are safe. We will be happy to give as much support as we are able to whatever the decision taken.