Think churches were left behind by the digital revolution? Think again! Peer-to-peer parking involves more than just private driveways and commercial enterprises. An empty car park is the holy grail, and entrepreneurial churches up and down the country are jumping on the opportunity to turn their empty spaces into a source of income by renting them out online.
St Barnabas Church in Clapham is one such church. The money raised through JustPark is used to fund outreach projects that help make a difference to the lives of folks in the local community, as well as for essential maintenance and upkeep of the church buildings. Not to mention answering the prayers of stressed-out drivers by providing additional parking in a congested corner of London.
The parish team have been using JustPark to rent two brilliantly located spaces in Clapham to provide much-needed parking for the local area since October 2013, and they haven’t looked back since – raising nearly £5,000 in revenue so far.
We took a trip to Clapham and met up with Gerard Rundell, the church’s Parish Assistant and designated Head Of Parking Operations, to get the lowdown on how the pounds are being put to good use.
Church maintenance and upkeep
A portion of the church’s JustPark income is used for the general upkeep of the beautiful building. One project which has benefitted significantly from the parking revenues is the re-slating of the church roof. How many slates does it take to cover a ginormous church roof? Our guess: more slates than there are verses in the Old Testament. Multiplied by the number in the New Testament.
Some of the extra income helps deal with the day-to-day costs of running the church, keeping it open to the community around the clock, which Gerard explains can be rather steep for such a large space. If you think you have problems with your heating at home costing an arm and a leg, try managing a church! With such a huge building dating from 1898, it’s no wonder St Barnabas are rejoicing in an additional stream of income to make those utility bills a little less biblical.
Community support and outreach projects
The money generated through renting the two parking spaces also helps to subsidise a variety of classes and group sessions for people in the local area, which take place at the church. From AA meetings to classes for stroke patients, St Barnabas plays host to a diverse range of community gatherings – many of which are provided to local residents at discounted rates, thanks to subsidies from the church.
The team at St Barnabas also organises collections for local food banks, providing emergency food and support to vulnerable people throughout south London. Some of the money raised through JustPark goes towards ensuring the continuation of these activities.
St Barnabas are no strangers to getting creative with regard to fundraising. As well as capitalising on their under-used parking spaces, one member of the congregation has setup a running club – now with over fleet-footed 500 members – all of whom will be taking part in a sponsored fun run around nearby Clapham common.
There are also regular Caribbean-themed events, with traditional food and music from the region. Gerard is a big fan of these, and, we have to say, they do sound almost delicious as a convenient and reasonably priced parking space.
Are you a member of a church with a languishing car park? Why not do a Gerard, and see what you can achieve by renting it out by posting a free listing. We can’t guarantee you a space in Heaven, but you certainly won’t be sent to parking purgatory on our watch.