Monthly Archive August 2020

Dave HallByDave Hall

Les lands a grand result for Bournemouth church

No wonder Les Howard (right) and his team are smiling – they’ve won a battle for Immanuel Church, Bournemouth that has saved the fellowship a staggering £100,000 in unnecessary VAT.

‘We are pleased to say we have saved and protected many millions of pounds over the years, including Immanuel where we successfully argued a case at the tax tribunal,’ said regular CRE exhibitor Les. ‘Whilst we try to minimise VAT costs of any project, we do not become involved in dubious tax avoidance schemes. We want our church clients to have confidence in the integrity of their advisers, as well as the quality of the advice itself.’

The vatadvice.org team has recently grown with Les now joined by Rebecca and Nick (pictured). The plan is to develop a larger team, supporting even more churches and charities through the VAT maze. 

‘We have leased an office,’ said Les, ‘although, with lockdown, we are not often there!’

Much of the company’s work is advising on property development.

‘Always to speak with us at an early stage,’ said Les. ‘We can provide written guidance for your leadership team or trustees. This gives certainty as the church will invariably need to raise funds. No church leader wants to ask a congregation for further funds to pay an unexpected VAT bill.

‘Many churches are diversifying their activities. Coffee shops, food banks, debt advice, counselling, mental health and furniture stores are increasingly found on church premises.  These can have VAT implications, so ask at an early stage.’

Click here for more information.

• Vatadvice.org are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey Oct 12-14)

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Flash Gordon to George Floyd: it’s all in Good News

Lockdown meant outreach newspaper Good News published just one edition, rather than its usual four monthly issues – but the September issue is back with a bang.

Having weathered both lack of sales and the closure of its printer, the publishers are thanking God for finding a new printer and returning to monthly publications.

‘As a registered charity we run Good News on a shoestring, existing purely on sales of the paper rather than fundraising, so to miss three issues was a financial hit,’ said editor Andrew Halloway. ‘To see our printer go under was a further blow. But God has taken us through that and many churches who use the paper have kindly given gifts to sustain our ministry.

‘In addition, we took a step of faith in doubling the number of papers we normally give away free to prisons and have seen people also generously support that outreach.’

With the testimony of a professor leading the hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine, stories on George Floyd and racism, as well as a farmer’s testimony as harvest approaches, the September issue is relevant to the times. There is also a sports page, including the testimony of a Nottingham Forest player and an interview with Flash Gordon star Sam Jones – as the sci-fi movie celebrates its 40th anniversary.

Good News is ideal for door-to-door distribution but also works alongside any other form of church outreach. And at only 15p per copy plus p&p, it’s very cost effective.

Click here for more information.

• Good News newspapers are exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey Oct 12-14)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Coming through Covid with a building to bless

Can existing buildings be re-purposed in our brave new post-pandemic world?

CRE exhibitors CPL Architects think so and are taking up the challenge under their new Building to Bless initiative.

‘It has been wonderful to see churches developing a vision for their local communities within the constraints of social distancing,’ said CPL’s Phil Winch. ‘They are delivering new outreach projects through innovative building projects, meeting the new needs of our world.’

With online streaming of services a necessary form of collective worship under lockdown, the gradual relaxation of government restrictions has required a fresh look at how existing physical buildings can be re-purposed.

‘Social distancing requirements effect many aspects of the built form,’ explained Phil, ‘including access, egress, circulation, ventilation and spacing between seating. It all means larger areas are needed for the same number of people.’

Many churches are reviewing their building portfolios to see how they can be modified to meet these important new requirements, suggests Phil. At the same time, some churches are seeing this crisis as an opportunity to achieve a more aspirational vision – to bless their communities with new ventures delivered through exciting building programmes.

A Building to Bless project in Beckenham (pictured) envisages a brand-new facility on the high street, providing a safe and attractive offering to the night-time economy with music events, fine coffee and other social activities to meet community needs.

‘If you have a vision for your community in these challenging times, we would love to hear about your ideas for Building to Bless,’ said Phil. Click here for more information.

• CPL Architects are exhibiting at CRE South West 2021 (Westpoint, Exeter, 17-18 Mar) and CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey Oct 12-14)

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey

Dave HallByDave Hall

Let your light shine (and don’t be LED astray)

Most of us fail to consider how much oil our church lighting burns – not the refined hydrocarbon found in traditional oil-burning lamps but the environmental cost of the energy used by everyday light bulbs.

‘On average, churches in the UK use between 22,000 and 30,000 kWh of electricity annually,’ said David Burch of CES, a lighting design and installation practice with teams dedicated to re-lighting heritage churches. ‘To put this in perspective you could make two million cups of coffee with this energy, which in the C of E is probably about right!’

Worryingly, this is also equivalent to 2,800 litres of oil being burnt and expelled into the atmosphere. And although the UK government has made inroads into green and renewable energies, the jury’s still out on whether we’ll meet the 30 per cent target by the end of 2020. So how can churches play their part?

‘New technologies can allow us to cut lighting energy consumption by 90 per cent,’ said David. ‘At CES we understand the importance of system longevity with minimal maintenance. Churches are charities and we appreciate the importance of value for money where budgets are tight. We also understand how lighting can be used architecturally and impact worship for good.

‘New LED lighting should not be entertained without careful consideration and professional assistance. Many quick swaps or poorly-designed schemes are a false economy!’

• CES Lighting are exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (12-14 Oct 2021). For more information click here.

Join our mailing list to make sure you receive a free copy of the CRE At Home 2020 handbook, which will be posted in October

Our next exhibitions

CRE South West 2021 – 17-18 March 2021
Westpoint, Exeter

CRE National 2021 – 12-14 October 2021
Sandown Park, Surrey