Proposed Sale of Dore Parish Church Hall

Proposed Sale Of the Site of the Dore Parish Church Hall

As there is now a substantial amount of information and correspondence on this page, it has been reorganised so that new information will be posted at the top for your convenience. 

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Church Hall - Message from the PCC, 16th February 2019

The Parish Church Council (PCC) met on 12th February to review comments, questions and suggestions which were received, both verbally and in written form, at the recent open meeting. They are very grateful for the level of interest in the future of the hall.

The PCC reiterates that they wish to retain the hall for community use.

A working group has been formed which will further evaluate different models of maintaining and developing the hall, and will report back to the PCC by the end of March. Following that we will communicate again, both with those individuals and groups who have expressed interest in the running of the hall, and with the community as a whole. 

16th February 2019

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Letters received by DVS regarding the proposed sale

From Dore Male Voice Choir

I am the Secretary of the Dore Male Voice Choir (the Choir) and am writing on behalf of the Committee and Members of the Choir.
The Choir has rehearsed weekly in the Church Hall in Dore for over 40 years. In many ways the Hall is regarded as our spiritual home.
The acoustics are excellent; the main room is ideal for an active membership of some 80 choristers; there is parking (and disabled parking) onsite, which is welcomed by some of our more elderly and less mobile members, and the stage is vital for our joint productions with local schoolchildren as part of the Dore Festival every year.
Most importantly for the Choir, the Hall has storage facilities for the many thousands of pages of sheet music which we have acquired over the years, for our stock of uniforms, keyboard, speakers and music stands.
As far as the Choir is concerned, the Dore Parish Church Hall is unique to the Dore area; it suits our needs perfectly and there is no venue within the village which offers remotely similar facilities.
For these reasons the Choir is strongly opposed to the sale of the community asset known as Dore Parish Church Hall.
Yours sincerely,

Peter D. Babb
Hon. Secretary, Dore Male Voice Choir

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From Dore Tai Chi Group

The Dore Tai Chi Group has been meeting in the church hall for eleven years. We have professional teachers who also work for the NHS Trust in Sheffield teaching Tai Chi to patients who have had a cardiac event. These patients have been shown in several controlled studies to do better than those who were given other forms of exercise. They get six free lessons at the Hallamshire Hospital, and thereafter many of them continue their rehab in our Tai Chi sessions in the church hall. In the group we have both younger and older people, some of whom are quite disabled and this venue is ideal because of its disabled access and facilities inside the hall and also a very convenient car park.
We could not easily find another venue. With twenty members who stand for the exercise at arm’s length from each other we use the full length and width of the hall. Half way through, the beginners and improvers go into the small hall for tuition and the rest of us practice and improve the ‘form’. We then spend ten minutes practising with the ‘spears’ which are six feet long and space is essential.
We hope that the hall is kept for community use.
Gail Crosby
Coordinator, Dore Tai Chi Group

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From Dore Parish Bowls Club

Dore Parish Bowls Club was started in 2003 as a social activity for the elderly. In sixteen years, one hundred and twenty retired members from the community have participated, including some into their 90s. Our current membership is forty. We play three times a week and contribute over £3000 each year in fees. This indoor winter activity provides for those living alone, couples who wish to share an activity and those who are new to the village wishing to meet others. We encourage those with dementia and other disabilities and provide respite for carers. In challenging situations and good times we try to support each other.
The chance of moving the club elsewhere is unlikely due to our requirement for space and storage of heavy equipment. The church would not be appropriate for our needs. We require playing access for two hours, three times a week. A number of our members walk to this facility and we need to consider those who do not drive,
Loss of this facility would impact heavily on the elderly, lonely and isolated. Every effort should be made to retain this central, useful hall, for community use.
Dore Parish Bowls Club Committee

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From Christ Church Toddler Group

We need to talk, ‘who will my friends be, who am I going to talk to, what am I going to do all day?’ These were the very important questions I was asking myself and my husband when we made the decision to move to Dore before we started our family five years ago.
As a busy working woman used to being around people all day, I was terrified of being alone with a baby with no one who felt like me, no one who would want to agonise over baby-led weaning versus traditional weaning, no one to argue about Brexit with, no one to discuss Strictly Come Dancing with!
Community is what we needed and what we found in Dore at Christ Church Toddlers. With a six week old baby, in her best ‘going out of the house’ outfit, we ventured to the church hall, we were greeted with warmth, smiles and compassion. I had found them, I had found those people to talk to.
At Christ Church Toddlers I learnt, I learnt how to encourage a one year old to share toys with varied success and laugh when it went wrong. I learnt about the community I lived in and had chosen for my family. I became connected and my circles of support grew, as did my confidence as a parent. When I needed to figure out how to leave the house with a two year old and a newborn I was prepared, and when I needed someone to hold the newborn to take the two year old to the toilet for the tenth time that morning, eager and kind hands were waiting for a cuddle. When it was a bad day and I needed that cuddle, Toddler Group was waiting with a cup of tea and space for me to breathe whilst my children played and grew.
I feel passionately about this community based group, it works and it is a lifeline for so many people. It works because the space has everything we need, room for a lot of often wet, laden-down prams, space for much loved toys to broaden thirsty minds, space for a separate area to have hot drinks and snacks to keep everyone happy and safe. Plenty of toilets for the quick dash with a three year old and a stage with storage and the space that is needed for the thirty to forty parents / grandparents who come week in week out with their toddlers. We need to give this space the love and attention it needs to survive because it helped me and so many others survive this exhilarating journey of parenthood.
Anna Melia
Joint Co-ordinator, Christ Church Dore Toddlers

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From a former DVS Vice-Chairman

The Church’s Annual Report on the Charity Commission website for the year ended 31st December 2017 states, under its Objectives, that one of its primary aims and activities is:-
“The use of the church buildings (church and church hall) by the local school, choirs and other community groups”. The Report then goes on to state that “To facilitate this work it is important that we maintain the fabric of Christ Church and the Church Hall buildings.” That Report also states that the Church Hall breaks even on everyday running costs. You might ask what has changed in less than twelve months for the PCC now to make such a surprising proposal to sell the Church Hall. A sale that would be devastating for the community.
In Dore the Church Hall is unique with its large hall, stage, extensive storage areas, several toilets, kitchen and ancillary rooms, as well as off-street parking. All these facilities provided by the Church Hall could not be replicated by the proposed alterations to the Church itself and so current users would simply be left with no suitable alternative. The current users of the Hall cover every age group; and with proactive management there could be even more use of it.
It is particularly disappointing that the planned public meeting has only come about because of the strength of public opinion to the proposed sale. Surely such a consultation should have been the first approach for a Church at the heart of the community. Do we really want to lose this facility at the centre of Dore; and does the Church care?
Julie & David Bearpark

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From Dore & Totley Christian Fellowship

I am a member of the Dore & Totley Christian Fellowship, which has met every Sunday morning in the church hall for over 20 years. We have been part of the Christian community in the village for the last 35 years. During that time we have helped with the Youth Work at “The Ark” and for a time we’re responsible for running the mother and toddler group in the Hall.
The proposal to close down the hall would deprive us of a ‘home’ as obviously we couldn’t be accommodated in the new renovated church building. People come to our church from Dore, Totley, Dronfield and Holmsfield so the car parking facilities are essential, and we enjoy the less formal nature of the hall as a meeting place. In addition to the main hall we use the two rear rooms as a prayer room and Sunday School room, we have cupboards reserved for us in the rear where we keep our equipment, and we use the kitchen for the inevitable refreshments after each service! There appears to be nowhere else locally that would be so convenient.
Along with the Anglican and Methodist churches we provide a centre for like-minded Christians to meet locally. Anyone wanting to visit would be made very welcome.
Peter Inchley
Dore & Totley Christian Fellowship

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From 125th Sheffield (1st Dore) Guides

Our Guide Unit has been meeting in Dore Church Hall on Friday evenings during school term times since 1954. The girls are aged from 10 to 14/15.
We always have full membership of 36 and a waiting list. The Guides movement provides a valuable activity for pre-teens and teenagers, who want to be with their peer group and need constructive adult-led pursuits, at an important time in their development.
The Church Hall is perfect for our use, as we are able to use all the rooms, the kitchen and the main hall which is ideal with plenty of space for activities and games. There is also little we can damage and we can easily clear up after a messy activity, especially as the floors in all the rooms are not carpeted.
Our Guides play ball games and the suggestion we can move to the Church is unrealistic. How can we protect the stained glass windows?
Sometimes we use the stage to put on productions and there is no other public building in the village with this facility, or a hall that would accommodate a large audience.
We have a cupboard in which to store our basic craft materials, games equipment and other items needed for each meeting. There is plenty of parking around the building, for parents to drop off their daughters safely.
We can park close to the door to carry in items needed for the meetings and there is disabled parking and ramps to both entrances.
There is no other building in Dore that is so spacious, convenient, has safe parking and is available on a Friday evening. We must retain this fantastic facility.
Pamela Butterworth
Guide Leader

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From a former Lord Mayor of Sheffield

I am writing to ‘Dore to Door’ as a member of Dore Male Voice Choir, and frequent and long time user of the Church Hall to express my dismay at hearing that the Church is proposing to sell the Hall with the prospect of development of the site.
The Hall has been an invaluable facility available to the whole community ever since it was built. It provides accommodation which is unmatched by any other such property in the village and its loss to the village would be a devastating blow.
For Dore Male Voice Choir (an organisation that is proud to be part of the Dore infrastructure), which has used the Hall for rehearsals and concerts almost every week of the year for over twenty years, the loss would be catastrophic. The other facilities in Dore would be unable to accommodate the choir of over eighty members for rehearsals, and there is no plan ‘B’.
Reading the annual reports and accounts for recent years on the Charity Commission’s website, the reports say that the Hall has not been making losses; has had satisfactory property reports following quinquennial surveys; the repairs have been all attended to, and the Church cite the provision as part of its mission to the community.
The concerns at the prospect of loss of the Hall as expressed extensively by residents and users are surely concerns the Church, in presumably wishing to be central to the community of Dore, should also have.
Yours sincerely
David Heslop OBE

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From Mr. Iain Shand

As a member of the Dore Village Society and as a member of the Dore Male Voice Choir I wish to record my extreme disappointment and astonishment that Dore Church would even consider the sale of Dore Village Hall and the site it occupies for financial gain. As I understand it the site was purchased and the hall built for community use and the costs for same were met, partly or wholly, by public subscription. The hall and site were subsequently sold to the church for a mere £250.00 and, I am sure, that at the time of sale the community did not anticipate that the church would, at some later date, propose to sell it on to a commercial enterprise for financial gain.
The main reason given for the proposed sale seems to be that the hall is a financial burden to the church, however, it would appear that the running and maintenance costs (with the exception of the renewal of the boilers and possibly the refurbishment of the hall floor) have been covered by the fees paid by the various community organisations which use the hall.
It seems to me that the Christian thing to do would be to sell the hall back to the community which could, I believe, raise the funds, once again, by public subscription. It could be bought back by the community for the same amount as it previously sold it to the church, namely, £250.00 plus an allowance for inflation. This would remove the responsibility for the seemingly onerous running and maintenance costs suffered by the church and would keep this very valuable asset in the community where it belongs.
Yours sincerely,
Iain Shand

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From Mr. Julian McFall

I have lived in Dore for 20 years and have raised my family here. I have always found Dore to have a wonderful sense of community with people getting involved in a wide range of activities. Central to this is a venue where such activities can take place. Over the years my children have been involved in many activities and events there. I am now a member of the Dore Male Voice Choir, who practise there every Thursday, so make very good use of the facility. I am not aware of any similar space in Dore, so if this sale goes ahead, all the valuable community activities will have to either cease or move out of the Village.
Best Regards
Julian McFall

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From Ms. Janet Stapleton

Please help us to save the Church Hall, it is a big asset for the village and is used by many people who never enter the Church. It should be called the Village Hall. The up keep of the hall can not be left to the Church alone, we must find a way to all pull together to maintain it. If it was no longer available for public use it would be missed by many people as there is nowhere in the village that can replace it.
Yours sincerely
Janet Stapleton

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In verse

It is Thursday evening and all around,
To Dore Village Hall 60 gentlemen are bound,
For singing and friendship they all enjoy,
Which for 50 years has been these gentlemen’s toy.
But along in the latter part of last year,
Along came the PCC with a big idea.
To sell off this wonderful Village Hall,
And use the money to have a ball
We ask you please to think of the pain,
To those whose lives they are about to stain,
Please consider those brushed aside,
And move to ensure they can abide.
In Dore Village Hall the ancestral home,
Of Dore Male Voice Choir with no desire to roam.
Regards
Ian Powell, Chairman DMVC

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In brief

This sale would be to the detriment of everyone young and old – Dore resident or not.
John Stennett

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In Dore for the community

I am writing to express my views on the Church Hall.
We moved to Dore last year, with our three young children. We were unable to get our children into Dore Primary School as it is over-subscribed, therefore they attend a school outside of Dore.
One of the reasons we chose to move to Dore was the idea of being part of a village community where our children could integrate with other local children. We joined our daughter at the Church Hall Brownies on a Friday evening, where she has been able to meet local girls and feel part of the village, contributing at the gala, remembrance parade etc.
I regularly attend the Thursday play group at the Church Hall with our baby, where we enjoy meeting other mums and babies who live in Dore.
Without these public spaces for people to come together and meet, it will have a huge impact on the community of the village. It is vital that these community spaces are preserved for future generations to use, as once they are gone, it won’t be possible to find these spaces again. I appreciate the reasons why the church are needing to raise funds for the church building and can’t afford the upkeep of the Hall, but there must be some way to keep the hall open for the community of Dore.
With the current digital age, one of the greatest parenting challenges is how to get young ones off screens, out meeting people face to face and interacting with others in real life and not just through a screen. Such community spaces are essential to allow the many groups to come together in person, and keep the community going.
I am intending to attend the public meeting at the Church at the end of January. I hope there can be a way forward for the village to come together and fight to keep the Church Hall open and available for the good of Dore community and its citizens.
Kind Regards,
Name and address supplied

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In-terpretive dance

Dear Sir,
I would just like to say I have used the Church Hall for over 30 years, I tap dance and my three children all danced there for many years. Not just having lessons but also taking part in many a Show. Over this time I know a lot of money was paid in rent and that it was increased every year. The dancing school used to use the Hall three nights a week as well as during the day on some days plus the Keep Fit classes. Donations were also given to the Church from the money made at the Show.
However, over that time there has been very little work done to the Hall, it is now in a terrible state and not many people would chose to hold a function there, if they could afford it!! I would like to know where did all the Rent go and why was it not invested in the upkeep of the Hall.
Yours faithfully
Gerry New

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Since this DVS statement (below) was released the Parochial Church Council has issued the following invitation.

MEETING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH HALL

Christ Church invites all those who are interested to a meeting about the future of the Church Hall building.

At this meeting members of the Parochial Church Council (or PCC) will present the background to this matter and then spend time hearing from members of the community about their views and suggestions for the future of the Church Hall.

The meeting will take place on:

Monday 28th January at 7.30pm to 9.30pm in Christ Church, Dore

Light refreshments will be served as we recognise that some people may have to come straight from work.

We look forward to welcoming you.

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The Dore Village Society committee, along with a large number of Dore residents, is concerned by the plans of the Dore Parish Church Council (PCC) to sell the site on which the Parish Hall is built. In her letter of 22nd October the Rev. Katie Tupling wrote that the PCC is considering three options:

1. Sell part of the site for development (or community use), retaining the Parish Office extension.
2. Sell all of the site for future community use.
3. Sell all of the site for development.

The sale of the site (in whole or in part) for development would result in the loss of the Parish Hall and this would be a severe loss to the community.
It is our understanding that the PCC has the legal right to sell the land, and that they wish to do so for a number of reasons. For our part, we wish to see ownership of the Parish Church Hall and surrounding land vested in an organisation that maintains and manages the asset for the benefit of the community, and in particular provides facilities for meetings, recreation, social activities, exhibitions, events, and other reasonable purposes that the community identifies. So the challenge is to reconcile the intentions of the PCC with our wishes and those of the many Dore residents who have been in touch with us.
In order to make progress the DVS committee set up a sub-committee in November which includes the chairs and trustees of the DVS and the Old School Trust, people who run their own businesses, a chartered accountant with experience of buying and selling businesses, one of our local Councillors, a former Regional Director of The National Trust and Chair of The Heritage Lottery Fund in the East Midlands, as well as others who have been in contact with us to ask how the Church Hall might be retained. A major factor in any consideration will be the potential economic viability of the hall and we have been investigating this.
This sub-committee has corresponded on several occasions with the Parish Church Council via Rev. Katie Tupling and others, and with the Archdeacon, to express our concerns. We have also had conversations with the Archdeacon and the Bishop of Sheffield. In addition, we have had conversations, correspondence and meetings with a number of Dore residents.
The replies that we have received from Rev. Tupling, other members of the PCC, the Archdeacon and the Bishop have emphasised the desire of the PCC and other Church authorities to find a solution which includes continued community use of the Church Hall.
We have offered to meet with the PCC to discuss their options. We wish to engage constructively with them to explore how the Church Hall might be retained as a community asset, and we will continue to try and arrange a meeting with them as a matter of urgency. In particular we would like more information about:
• Their reasons for the proposed sale and the alternatives that have been considered.
• The financial assessment that was undertaken.
• What the PCC is prepared to do to engage in constructive discussion with the community to try and find a solution which would be acceptable to all parties.
At some point early in 2019 we will be organising a public meeting to listen to the opinions of residents, to ascertain the level of support for action to retain the Parish Hall for use by the community and, if sufficiently positive, to invite people to become actively involved in the process. In the meantime a joint application has been made by the Old School Trust, the Dore Village Society and the Dore Neighbourhood Forum to have the Parish Hall listed as an Asset of Community Value (see https://mycommunity.org.uk/ then the Take Action tab > Land and Building Assets > Assets of Community Value for more information about what this means, or just Google Asset of Community value).
When we have anything further to report we will do so via our website, our noticeboards, Dore to Door, the Dore and Totley Community Facebook page, and a variety of other means. You can also write to us with any suggestions that you may have at The Old School, Savage Lane, Sheffield, S17 3GW, or hand deliver through the letterbox on the front door of the Old School, email us at chp@dorevillage.co.uk or drop into the DVS office on Fridays between 10:30am and 11:30am from 11th January onwards.

Keith Shaw
Chairman
Dore Village Society

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