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Church-hall bookings app Sharesy celebrates million-pound milestone

12 January 2024

Screenshot from the app

Screenshot from the app

AN APP that helps churches and communities to hire out available space is celebrating one million pounds’ worth of bookings. A quarter of the venues are places of worship, including churches, halls, and synagogues.

Set up in 2020, the Sharesy app functions mainly in London, and its operators are now looking to enlarge the listing and reservations service nationally. The concept began as a social enterprise to find “chronically under-utilised” community facilities that needed some help in matching with potential hirers.

The Vicar of St Andrew’s, Whitehall Park, in north London, the Revd Stephen Clarke, is positive about the app. “We’ve definitely seen more bookings coming through thanks to Sharesy, with a greater number of people from further afield coming to use our facilities,” he said. The church was adapted in the 1960s to create an internal hall which is available for £35 per hour. Mr Clarke is now thinking about transferring all of the church’s long-term lets to the service.

“We are full for January and most of February. The booking engine with Sharesy gives us confidence in widening the availability of our facilities with the security [that] the money will come in.”

Organisations can specify the activities that they will not allow in their spaces, which, at St Andrew’s, includes helium balloons (“because they can get stuck in the rafters”). Other prohibitions include adults’ parties, religious events, yoga, and anything “with really loud music”, reflecting the hall’s proximity to the worship space.

The Sharesy founder and chief executive, Felix Atkin, whose wife works in a primary school, saw the potential for bringing an Airbnb-style solution to community spaces. The additional benefit was revenue. Speaking to The Times last week, he reported “lots of interest in rural areas where parish halls and churches are heavily under-utilised and really in need of that funding”.

Because many community venues “don’t tend to have the expertise in the venue to manage them”, he hoped to reduce inconvenience and bring both greater availability and income.

sharesy.com

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