1. The church is committed, whenever reasonably possible, to making church premises available for appropriate community usage.
2. This usage is, however, subject to availability and organised and scheduled functions of the congregation and meetings of church organisations will always be given priority of access.
3. The church reserves the right to cancel a previously agreed usage of church premises in particular circumstances and in such cases will endeavour to give as much notice as possible.
4. Requests for use of church premises made to church officers or the minister, will normally be brought before the next suitable meeting of the Church Committee where a decision will be taken and communicated to the requesting group or body. If there are particular reasons for doing so, the request may be referred to Kirk Session for consideration.
5. Requests for use of church premises may be made verbally or by email in the first instance but requesting groups or bodies should also complete and submit the specified proforma ‘First Holywood Presbyterian Church – Request for Use of Church Premises’ which is available from the church office and by download from the church website. This form should be submitted at least one week before the Church Committee meeting which will consider the request and at least two weeks before the planned event.
6. In the event of receipt of two or more requests for use of church premises which require the same or overlapping dates/times, priority will normally be given to the request (which must include completion of the specified proforma) which has been received first.
7. If the outside body needs to cancel their agreed usage of church premises or to withdraw a request for usage, this should be communicated to the minister, church secretary or through the church office without delay.
8. If the church or church premises are being used for a church event involving children, it will not normally be the practice to allow outside bodies or groups access.
1. Groups and bodies requesting use of Church premises should submit the specified proforma, as outlined above, containing all the necessary information i.e.
• Name and contact details of the person in charge and who will be in attendance
• Name and contact details of sponsoring organisation
• Requested, exact times and dates of use
• Details of accommodation, rooms, halls etc. required
• Numbers of adults and children expected to attend
• Proof of the organisation’s public liability insurance
• An undertaking that Fire Evacuation and Health and Safety information will be disseminated to all necessary parties
• Details of any equipment which it is intended to bring and use
2. Groups and bodies using the church premises will be provided with important fire evacuation and health and safety information which should be shared with all participants. All those using church premises are expected to show due respect, courtesy and to behave in a civilised and considerate manner.
3. If the event or meeting involves children, a copy of the organisation’s child protection policy should be provided and confirmation given that all leaders and helpers have been satisfactorily trained and vetted.
4. It is a condition of usage that the premises should be left clean and tidy after the event.
5. A donation to cover the costs of heating and lighting etc. would be appreciated.
N.B. In particular circumstances it may not be necessary to invoke the full permission procedures as described above. This may be because permission has previously been sought and granted and what is required is simply continuation or repetition of an existing arrangement. It may also be appropriate to expedite the process during holiday times or if no meeting of the church committee is planned for the near future. In such exceptional circumstances a decision will be reached and communicated to the requesting body by the minister and/or church secretary and/or church officer responsible for use of properties and/or other appropriate church officer. However, it is envisaged that for the vast majority of requests for use of church property, it will be appropriate and necessary to use the procedures as set out in this document and the accompanying request form.
To Download Form for use of Church Property by the Community click here.