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Thread: Use of Scout Halls?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Use of Scout Halls?

    Hi,

    Not sure if I am posting in the correct place?

    Anyway just wanted to ask if anyone could help me with a dilemma?

    My Scout Group have our own Scout Hut - all 3 of our sections meet on a Monday night - so every other night is free - so we allow local groups to use the hall for a donation - the one group I have an issue with is a group that use the hall every other Saturday from 10-3. The group are a small sci-fi figures etc - warhammer group and rarely have more than 10 people present. I work term-time and so I always try to plan for sleepovers at the beginning of half terms etc. The action figure group are always booked in for one of these weekends. So I approached my GSL over the subject, asking if the group would be willing to swap a week so that I could run a sleepover for the Beavers, the reply I got was - can I not run the sleepover either side of the group times - I replied no as I have other commitments - also being told that I should be flexible. It seems that the Scout Group, the Beavers specifically, should be flexible over the use of its own Scout Hut. I am getting more and more annoyed at this point - this issue has also meant that other Groups have not been able to use our hall when they needed to. Also because of this issue - the only NA event I can offer my Beavers is our Group Camp - this I am not happy about as I would like to do more with them.

    Surely if the Hut was left in trust to our Group then it should be used for Scouting purposes first? it seems that our GSL as put the community first - which I understand is an important supporter of our group - and due to the donations - contributes a lot towards our fundraising - However it is a Scout Hall first?

    My ultimate question is - is there anything in POR that states that Scout Halls/Property should be used for Scouting Purposes before other uses?
    And any ideas of how I could convince my GSL that it is a Scout Hall first, and that is it's main purpose.

    Thanks
    Dolphin
    BSL - Worthgate, Canterbury
    DBSL Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay

  2. #2
    Scout Leader (Bosun) Nick's Avatar
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    Have you tried talking to the other hall user directly? Often if you ask early enough they may be able to help you. I have had experience of executives that place the desires of the other hall users above that of the their own group, it can be very frustrating at times.

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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    Go visit the warhammer group, explain your problem to them and ask if they could swap a Saturday.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Scout use comes first. If other users cannot be flexible, then they are out on their ear. That's my rule here. Hmmm, maybe that's why we don't have any other users :-)
    Ewan Scott

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    Certainly nothing in POR, and neither would I expect there to be.

    If it is your Group HQ then it seems obvious to me that Scouting should be the primary use of the building. Whilst the "donations" may come in handly, sure running a Beaver Sleepover is more important than a few quid.


    Paul

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    Sorry I not getting this, how does a group using the hall from 10 AM till 3 PM stop you having a sleepover ?

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    Senior Member roger-uk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Ransley View Post
    Sorry I not getting this, how does a group using the hall from 10 AM till 3 PM stop you having a sleepover ?
    I was thning the same thing. Why not run it from 17.00 to 12.00 or later on Sunday.
    Roger Woods
    Assistant Group Scout Leader,
    1st Sawley (All Saints) , Long Eaton

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    I think that the time of the sleepover is immaterial even though if you want to start a sleepover at 17:00 then you need to be in YOUR premises long before that to set up the hall, bring in whatever equipment/food etc and be ready to receive the youngsters as they arrive, happy that you are ready. We own our own HQ and any regular user has to agree that from time to time they may not be able to use the hall as we may need it ourselves. They also have to accept that even if they are using the premises we still have the right to come and go as we may need. With courtesy and consideration all round this has never caused a problem. Essentially though, it is your building and you should have first call at all times but compromise is always better than conflict.

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    I think the group need to decide what it needs for each section and fit the Community use around that.

    However if you have agreed a contract with a user for the year I'd expect that to be seen through.

    Barney

  10. #10
    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clangers.nsu View Post
    Hi,
    hi dolphin!

    Not sure if I am posting in the correct place?
    don't let it worry you if you're not!

    Anyway just wanted to ask if anyone could help me with a dilemma?
    well people here are very good at talking through things but solving dilemmas is often best done by the person posting them.

    but let's see if i can help a little. i should warn you that IME very few get the answers they're hoping for.

    My Scout Group have our own Scout Hut - all 3 of our sections meet on a Monday night
    that's unusual wouldn't you say? would it not be better if sections had a little more 'elbow room' in the schedule?

    - so every other night is free - so we allow local groups to use the hall for a donation -
    bad move imo! never simply 'allow' other community groups to use your HQ; use a structured licensing system instead. And never do it for 'a donation'! contractual undertakings of this sort, which include a financial relationship between the licensor and licensee, should always be done for 'a consideration'. considerations are always objectively determined, whereas 'donations' are subjective and often unenforceable. (consideration, in this instance = payment given for service rendered.)

    the one group I have an issue with is a group that use the hall every other Saturday from 10-3. The group are a small sci-fi figures etc - warhammer group and rarely have more than 10 people present. I work term-time and so I always try to plan for sleepovers at the beginning of half terms etc. The action figure group are always booked in for one of these weekends. So I approached my GSL over the subject, asking if the group would be willing to swap a week so that I could run a sleepover for the Beavers, the reply I got was - can I not run the sleepover either side of the group times - I replied no as I have other commitments - also being told that I should be flexible. It seems that the Scout Group, the Beavers specifically, should be flexible over the use of its own Scout Hut. I am getting more and more annoyed at this point - this issue has also meant that other Groups have not been able to use our hall when they needed to. Also because of this issue - the only NA event I can offer my Beavers is our Group Camp - this I am not happy about as I would like to do more with them.
    oh dear! you say 'booked in', so there is 'an understanding' (a sort of contract)? what is the nature of that understanding/contract? one would hope that people would be flexible in their use in these instances but if they are fulfilling their side of the agreement, and your group (specifically the group executive committee, GEC) have consented to this, then there is little you can do other than make other arrangements for your activity or be ruthless and cancel/annul the contract/agreement. the latter course of action is messy and will send out all the wrong messages to others about your group.

    the key thing is to build in flexibility to the terms of the agreement/licence in the first place so you hopefully avoid such problems!

    Surely if the Hut was left in trust to our Group then it should be used for Scouting purposes first? it seems that our GSL has put the community first - which I understand is an important supporter of our group - and due to the donations - contributes a lot towards our fundraising - However it is a Scout Hall first?
    your HQ is still your HQ, but that still doesn't allow you to run roughshod over people/groups with whom you have an agreement especially if they meet their part of the agreement and especially so if it's done for a consideration!

    it is up to you - i.e. your scout group - through the workings of the GEC as to how you manage your HQ. if it decides to balance use of the HQ with the considerations it receives then that is their choice. whatever, your HQ is still a scout HQ!

    let's take things to the extreme. if the GEC decided to license the use of the HQ to other community groups for all 7 days in the week and thus not leave space in the schedule for sections to use the HQ, then it might be in contravention of the trust upon which the HQ is secured. however, note i use the word might. if for all these licences the group was receiving considerations which were important to the group in providing a scouting programme, then there would likely be less of a problem with the building's trusts. if the GEC could realise these considerations in some other ways/means other than granting user licences, then there may a valid argument against such an extreme course of action. (NB: we're talking extremes here!)

    it's the group's (GEC's) responsibility to properly manage it's licences and ensure it balances any need to raise funds from community groups using the HQ with the scouting programme's use of the HQ. you can't really call foul if your group's responsible for botching such arrangements.

    My ultimate question is - is there anything in POR that states that Scout Halls/Property should be used for Scouting Purposes before other uses?
    but your HQ is being used for scouting purposes 7 days a week from what you've told us!!!!

    on Monday it's being used by your group's sections and on Tuesday - Sunday (or whatever days the community groups use it) it's being used to raise funds to support the group, its facilities, its costs, and its scouting programmes.

    And any ideas of how I could convince my GSL that it is a Scout Hall first, and that is it's main purpose.
    the body responsible for the management of the scout group, including its facilities, is the GEC; you should address your concerns to this body. if you're the BSL, as it says in your sig, and you have taken an ex-officio position on the GEC, then you are entitled to raise this issue at any convened meeting of the GEC. so put it on the agenda of the next meeting. (unless of course you're now going to tell us your group doesn't function with a GEC!)

    this really is a matter for the GEC (and not solely the GSL).

    i've made a few suggestions here you (GEC) should consider:

    1. your group scouters meeting (GSM) should clearly establish its need for use of the HQ to deliver its sections scouting programmes.
    2. it then needs to work with the GEC to balance this need, maybe with some in-built flexibility, with any need to raise funds from HQ use by other community groups. they key word here is 'balance' - weigh up the pros and cons, the freedoms and restrictions, the funds and the programmes, &c.
    3. establish licence agreements with all community groups/people using your HQ and have the GEC manage these agreements. such licences (do not 'let'!) should be for fixed periods, generally annual but do not have to be, and may have a renew clause or such like.
    4. licences are granted for a consideration, never a donation.
    5. build in to your licence agreements any arrangements for variation, be specific with times/schedules/use if possible, and be clear about notice periods when variations are being considered. be aware that the more restrictive your licences the likely less you will receive in consideration, and v.v.
    6. single event/one-off use of your HQ for a community function, for example, is best regulated through a simple 'hire agreement'; licence agrrements should be in place for regular users over longer periods.
    7. the GEC should review licences/hire agreements periodically. it must never grant tenancy rights, i.e. 'let' the property, or levy a 'rent' through a 'rental agreement'.

    and as a group, you may like to re-visit your ways of working, aims, objectives, &c. possibly?

    Thanks
    you're welcome!

    HTH

    cordially yours, TM
    Last edited by merryweather; 26-08-2013 at 02:08 AM.

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    Just a thought - is there anywhere else you could hold the sleepover? We frequently hold a Beaver sleepover in a Hutt of a neighbouring district - it adds to the adventure. Luckily we have a few locations 40 mins or less away. We were looking further afield but it was only Leader commitments that stopped us.

    Also if the other group is in till 15:00 - why can't u turn up then and start at 16:00 - surely u don't need more than 1 hour to set up? As other posts said - continue longer on the Sunday.

    I hope u find some sort of solution ;-)

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    We used to have a playgroup use our old HQ during the day in the week. Trouble was that they started to feel that it was their building and complained about Scout materials being inappropriate for their needs. They also took over storage areas and complained when we took them back. One time I arrived to set up for a meeting to be "kicked out" by someone who had been allowed to hold a councilling session in the hall on our actual meeting night by our Chairman (who did the bookings).

    You need to have proper agreements so that people know where they stand.
    Richard Cullen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Ransley View Post
    Sorry I not getting this, how does a group using the hall from 10 AM till 3 PM stop you having a sleepover ?
    Just asking again as OP has not responded. Without more details I am with the GSL, I would only change the existing arrangements if there was a good reason for it.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Wearing my GSL hat, anyone using our hall does so at our convenience, that much is made clear to everyone at the outset.
    I would not turn up on the Friday and tell a Saturday user that they were unable to access the hall the next day, but for planned events, a month or more's notice is ample to allow the location of alternative accommodation for one week.

    If we get to the stage where shared use is impacting upon Scout use, then we have an issue.

    I do have a question for the OP. All three sections meet on a Monday night. How is that possible?

    Our Beavers meet 6:15-7:15, allow 15 minutes for change over, Cubd run, on another night, 6:30 -8:00pm, so they would have to run 7:30 - 9:00pm, and Scouts with their two hours would have to run 9:15 - 10:15 on a Monday night. Not going to happen.

    Does this mean that your sections start earlier, say 5:00pm, and only run for an hour each? If the hall is available on other nights of the week could your Group's provision not be improved by better use of the hall for Scouting? Or has your Group allowed the hall rental to become its driving force and Scouting is an also ran? The scenario seems odd to me. My Group has a hall and if I had the Leaders we would have a section, or two in every night of the week because that is our primary purpose. If I had a section in every night of the week ( I am one night short just now) I would have the income from subs that means I don't need to rent out at all...
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





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    Very Old Member BigBadBaloo's Avatar
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    I have to agree with many of the other posters here. Something seems really odd here particularly with regard to the section nights. How can you run three sections on the same night? Our hall is in use every weekday evening (for Scouting) and we can just about manage to have two section meetings on one night (Beavers & Scouts or Beavers & Explorers) - if we had to get Cubs in there as well - it just wouldn't work.

    And like Tony and Roger, I don't see how you cannot run a sleepover after the other users have finished. I am also not sure how the only other NA event you can offer the Beavers is the Group camp. As an alternative could you not run the sleepover at the end of the half-term?
    Peter

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