Cold weather risks and precautions
Cold weather often causes the same common issues for churches. Here's an overview of the types of risk and how to address them.
In response to the fuel crisis, many churches from all faiths are opening their buildings to provide a warm space to people experiencing fuel poverty.
The Warm Welcome campaign was developed by ChurchWorks Commission – which brings together senior leaders from various denominations in the UK to explore the Church’s role in national Covid recovery. They have asked churches and other community and business spaces to offer a warm and welcoming space. With over 7,000 Warm Welcome Spaces now registered across the UK, many of you will be taking part.
Your church may be providing a Warm Welcome merely by advertising your existing church services as a warm space or extending your service to leave the building open to visitors. Alternatively, you may be opening in the afternoons or evenings and providing:
Whatever you have decided to do, here's some simple guidance to keep everyone warm and safe this winter.
Whilst a warm space is operating there is an increased risk of damage to the property, these can be from:
We also suggest you review which areas of the property can be accessed by your guests and assess the security protections for any valuables.
Therefore, your church should assess these new risks associated to providing warm space, to ensure you have adequate protections in place.
If you are providing food, over and above basic tea and coffee, for five or more days in any five consecutive weeks, then the Food Premises (Registration) Regulations 1991 could be invoked. This means:
Registration requirements are complex. Whilst the majority of premises must have a registration, certain exemptions apply. One such exemption could be church hall premises. Enquirers should be directed to their Local Authority Environmental Health Officer.
Additionally, the Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations 1995 cover the basic requirements of:
Warm spaces may need to be supervised at all times and this will most likely be done by volunteers. There is cover for volunteers within your church insurance policy, but you should take sensible precautions to ensure that they remain safe.
It is essential that appropriate training is in place, depending on the individuals’ contact with the guests. The guests could be considered vulnerable, so procedures need to be in place to protect them and the volunteers.
We generally expect these activities to be run and managed by your church and as such form part of normal church outreach. And unless there are any unusual activities or involve significant alterations to premises, we can cover these as standard at no additional cost.
We do, however, encourage you to get in touch with us and we will be happy to help if you are unsure or have any questions.
This guidance is provided for information purposes and is general and educational in nature. It should not be used as a substitute for taking professional advice on specific issues and should not be taken as providing legal advice on any of the topics addressed.