Thames North Synod Office
St Paul’s United Reformed Church
London W2 5LS
Tel: 020 7799 5000

Reopening Churches Part 3

Advice on Reopening Churches - Part 3

In addition to actions in Part 2, there will be a number of actions that will need to be carried out in relation to church premises before reopening for use by a nursery, including but not limited to:

I. Completing a full risk assessment of the premises in accordance with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, taking into account current government guidance on numbers of children permitted in each setting to comply with necessary social distancing requirements.

II. Carrying out a physical security check of the building and notifying any incidence to the buildings’ insurer and, where relevant, the police.

III. Carrying out regular Health & Safety checks, including:

  • Regular fire alarm checks, in accordance with legislation, both prior to occupation and throughout.
  • Regular emergency lighting checks, in accordance with legislation, both prior to occupation and throughout.
  • Legionnaires checks – including flushing through taps for at least 20 minutes before use – see https://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/legionella.htm
  • Visual checks of portable appliances prior to use and then providing regular checks in accordance with current HSE advice – see https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.pdf

IV. Ensuring that the area or areas to be used by the nursery are given a thorough clean and are kept clean throughout use and occupation.

Local churches are encouraged to review the URC discussion paper Ready for the new “normal” which mentions the need for some social distancing and shielding provisions to be kept in place, following the reopening of places of worship, to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all users.

In the circumstances, local churches will need to consider how they can safely allow their nursery tenants to resume occupation and use of church premises without putting themselves at risk, particularly individuals falling within the vulnerable category, whether due to age and/or health condition. Where additional support is required for caretaking (including providing access to church premises, cleaning, furniture arrangement, etc), to safeguard the health and safety of any individual or individuals formerly carrying out these tasks, the local church should consider how these duties can be outsourced and/or passed to the nursery tenant, if in line with the terms of their tenancy, and assuming that this does not compromise the ongoing security of the premises.

(THAMES NORTH) Any local church considering this issue should contact Muna Levan-Harris, Legal and Trust Officer, on direct dial 020 7313 6201 for further guidance.

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Thames North Synod Office
St Paul’s United Reformed Church
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Bayswater
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