Venues and Leases
Choosing a Playgroup Space
All playgroups, no matter the size, need an appropriate and safe place to meet and play. When choosing a venue, groups will need to think about the size of the venue, facilities they require, and affordability.
For guidance on what to look for when choosing a venue see Creating A Safe Playgroup Environment – Safe Play Environments and Venues.
Venue Hire Agreements & Leases
While unincorporated groups can, in most cases, hire a venue on a casual or ongoing basis, only incorporated groups may enter contracts including lease agreements. These groups may be invited to participate in drawing up a lease, be offered one that is standard for the owner of that building, or inherit a lease drawn up some time ago.
For information on becoming an incorporated playgroup see Incorporated Playgroups.
Leases contain a summary of the expenses the playgroup is liable for, such as maintenance, rates, utilities, pest-control, gardening, cleaning, and building insurance.
Venue hire agreements will generally have an all-inclusive fee for hire and a set of terms and conditions that the group must abide by.
It is important to know what expenses the playgroup is responsible for, so they can be included in the playgroup’s budget.
For more information on budgets and setting fees see Managing Playgroup Finances.
Playgroups need to be familiar with their lease and venue agreement terms and conditions. The playgroup committee should:
- Obtain a copy of your lease or agreement and read it carefully
- Find out who you should speak to if you need to discuss the lease or agreement
- Review your lease or agreement conditions regularly to ensure it is still appropriate for your group’s needs.
Playgroup WA is happy to assist playgroups with leases. Proposed new leases should be sent to Playgroup WA’s insurer, Finsura before signing. Please call Finsura on 1800 252 712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information.
Dealing with building owners and managers
No matter what size the playgroup is or whether it has a formal committee or an informal working group there is a need to establish a good working relationship with the venue owners and managers.
Venue owners could refer to a School Leadership Team, Shire or Council or other organisation. Some venues, such as some Family Centres or Neighbourhood Centres may have a facility manager or Management Committee who are responsible for the management and use of the facility.
There may be issues from time to time that make it necessary for a playgroup to negotiate with the building’s owners or manager.
If the playgroup organising group has already met with the owners or managers, or at least spoken to their representative on the phone, it will make it much easier to deal with them if a problem arises.
The following ideas may be helpful for groups in dealing with venue owners and managers:
- Find out who is the most appropriate person to speak to and make a point of contacting them first whenever possible.
- Invite the owner or manager to attend a playgroup session so they can discover first-hand what a playgroup is all about. It gives the playgroup an opportunity to show what a valuable community resource it is.
- If you have a complaint, make sure you write down as many points as you can about the issue so that you can present your concern or complaint clearly.
- You are more likely to achieve success if you approach the owner or manager in a friendly and positive way.
- Make sure the owner or manager is fully aware of the playgroup’s special safety requirements. If adults generally use the building, the owner may not realise the aspects that may be unsafe for young children.
- Be aware that the owner has rights too. The playgroup needs to make sure it carries out its responsibilities in caring for the building.
- Report damage immediately, whether caused by the playgroup or not. The owner or manager needs to be fully aware of the state of the building.
Lobbying your local council
Lots of playgroups meet in venues owned by local councils. Situations may arise when the playgroup may want to lobby the council on certain issues such as:
- Upgrading a building or playground
- Changes to the use of the venue
- Increases in rent
- Applying for a council grant or for assistance with a building project
- Asking permission to perform fundraising activities (such as a cake stall) on a pathway or other council property.
Playgroup families are often ratepayers and elect the council members. They are entitled to have a say about the provision and use of council facilities.
When lobbying over issues or applying for grants, strong arguments in favour of playgroups are that they:
- Bring local families together and build social support within communities
- Have a strong community development approach in that they help families work together to meet the needs of families and children
- Provide play opportunities for children and social interaction for parents and caregivers
- Are low cost and provide effective and important community support
- Assist families to develop organisational skills and expertise in running community groups, and provide social and emotional support for families.
You may find this a helpful resource when talking with your Local Council or Councillors about your venue.
Contact Playgroup WA’s Insurer, Finsura, to check the wording of the current lease or before signing new hire or lease agreements.
Please call Finsura on 1800 252 712 or email email@example.com if you need more information.
Sub-Leases and Birthday Party Hire
Playgroups with leases may be able to hire out their venues to other groups or individuals for activities such as meetings or birthday parties. Hiring your venue for other use can be a good source of income for playgroups. However, this is not included in your current Playgroup WA insurance and additional insurance cover may be required for these activities. Please contact Finsura for more information.