Should we stay or should we go?
When a big decision looms and you put aside a whole period of time to consider the available options prayerfully and in detail, you don’t normally expect to go round the whole loop and end up where you started.
10 years ago The Door team moved from our original home at the bottom of Gloucester Street in Stroud to a new base at the top of the High Street. Where we could also open a permanent charity shop, and have lots of space for our expanding youth training activities; including woodwork and art workshops and a music studio.
3 years later we were forced to make the difficult decision to close our training department, and since then a lot of the space hasn’t been fully utilised. Then 2 years ago in lockdown we had to shut up the whole building and make do without it, and while the shop has reopened and other staff have begun to use the office more, most are now happily engaged in a pattern of hybrid working and aren’t permanently based in the office.
So with the end of our lease looming, we were faced with making that decision: should we stay or should we go? After salaries, the rent on the building is our largest cost and as an organisation we really want to be investing in people rather than paying for buildings.
So we surveyed our staff and service users for their ‘premises wish list’, and started looking around for available options that fitted the bill. Fairly soon it emerged that our charity shop was in a good location which we should try to retain, and we started negotiations with the landlord on that basis.
The offices were trickier though, and after 18 months of perusing false dawns and poor compromises, we’ve decided to stick with the upstairs offices at 44-45 High Street for now.
However, we will be leaving the youth centre and the old workshops at the end of April. Of all the buildings we use for youthwork Stroud is the only one we have to pay for. So we’ve negotiated with the Youth Support Team to use the County Council’s youth centre (just across the car park in Ryeleaze Road) for our sessions for a trial period.
So we’ll still be based in the same place, but in a smaller space. And the good news is that there’s no need to edit your address book.