Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Project: Your New Community Centre

What is the project that Iron Aid Foundation are working on with St Johns Church?

Iron Aid Foundation are working with the Church to build a new MEZZANINE LEVEL floor inside the existing hall to add additional capacity and upgrade other facilities. The stage will also be removed to create more space. You can see plans on the Iron Aid website www.ironaid.org

What are the terms of this building project?

Iron Aid Foundation has been working with St John’s Church in the background for almost two years. We are now setting up a new Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO).
The CIO will have 6 trustees in total (3 from St John’s Church and 3 from Iron Aid Foundation). We therefore have joint control over the ‘Halls Complex’ The CIO will be sub-leasing part of the building to Iron Aid Foundation for dedicated Muslim worship; an Iron Aid office; and priority usage of the ‘Halls Complex’ for Iron Aid Foundation during Jummah, Taraweeh/Ramadhan, Eid Prayers and Religious lectures/events.

What is a CIO?

A CIO is a form of legal entity designed for charities or charitable groups that wish to be incorporated in the United Kingdom. It can be selected instead of registering as a charity and then as a company as well. “The main intended benefits of the new entity are that it has legal personality, the ability to conduct business in its own name, and limited liability so that its members and trustees will not have to contribute in the event of financial loss. These are already available to limited companies; charities can be formed as companies, but then they must be registered with both Companies House and the Charity Commission. In contrast, the CIO only needs to register with the Charity Commission. This is expected to reduce bureaucracy for the charity.”

What is the name of the new CIO?

St. John’s Iron Aid Trust (Charity registration number: 1183197)

What is the amount being asked for from the community?

We estimate that the development and improvement costs will be circa £700,000 ; This is based on architectural drawings and structural engineering changes that will need to be made. The plans will be available on our website.

What benefit do the community get from this investment?

Iron Aid Foundation is an equal controlling member of the CIO which will manage and control the Halls Complex. In practice this means that we will have priority booking rights for Jummah, Taraweeh/Ramadhan, Eid Prayers and Religious lectures/events.

Are we getting value for money compared with current usage costs and future planned usage forecast?

The rental of the hall(s) currently costs us almost £12,000 per year. For this rental amount, we only use the Hall(s) on a restricted basis, at certain times such as Jummah, Taraweeh and Fajr & Eisha Jamaats. This rental will undoubtedly increase over time. Taking into account even with a nominal uplift in rent every few years, this may rise to circa £300,000 over 21 years without security of tenure. If, as planned, we increase our usage of the Hall(s), we could be looking at costs of around £500,000-£600,000 over the same period. The advantage of us being an equal partner in the CIO is that we will have a dedicated space for Muslim worship; priority booking advantages, a dedicated Muslim charity office, Muslim wudu areas and equal participation in controlling how the Hall(s) complex is to be used. Given the rental comparisons we have carried out (using a number of local commercial agents) and previously discussed with community members, this is indeed value for money and gives us an equal participation in how the Hall(s) complex is to be used and operated over the next 21 years at least.

How can I help be a part of this community project to create a new facility?

First and foremost please make dua for the successful completion of the project for this much needed community facility. Secondly please earn Sadaqah Jariah by donating as much as you can
Thirdly spread the word and ask your network to also donate.
Also, as this will be your community centre, your thoughts and ideas regarding how and what you would like to see operating in this space is important. Please email info@ironaid.org with any suggestions, recommendations, or indeed how you would like to be part of this exciting community project.

Who are the owners of the expanded and refurbished Hall(s) complex?

The United Reformed Church – Thames North Trust (TNT) are the ultimate owners of the property.

How is our investment protected?

There will be a 21 years minus 3 days lease in place with the CIO, along with a sub-lease between Iron Aid and the CIO for ( 21 years minus 4 days). Both the leases, and all the various documents of understanding are being reviewed by a specialist firm of Charity Solicitors. If the landlord, Thames North Trust (TNT) decides to sell the property, then pre-emption rights will be in the lease to purchase the property.

Construction element of the New Community Centre

What will be the time taken to develop the building?

We envisage a 12 month build cycle

When are you expecting the works to start?

The building works will start once the lease and the sub-lease have been signed between all parties, we envisage this to be another 6 to 12 months from the start of Ramadan 2019.
We realise everyone is eager for matters to progress quickly, but we must apply a high level of due-diligence and risk management given we are serving the communities best interests.

Who will be carrying out the building works?

We have yet to appoint a professional building firm. We intend it to be a reputable construction firm and they will be appointed by the CIO as part of a professional tendering process.
Additionally we will be looking to have the works professionally project managed and quality assured to the highest possible standards.

How will the financials for the building works be monitored and controlled?

As with any large construction project such as this, there will be time, cost and quality controls in place and stage certifications before funds are transferred from the CIO to the selected construction firm.

When/how can we see the new architectural plans?

Following final approval these will be available for anyone to view on the Iron Aid Foundation Website www.ironaid.org

What disability features will be incorporated into the building design?

There will be disabled toilets and a lift for easy access to all floors.

What ablution facilities will be available?

There will be separate toilet/wudu areas for men and women

The journey to the New Community Centre

I understand the lease between the CIO and Iron Aid will be for 21 years, what happens after this period?

Given the Places of Worship (Enfranchisement) Act 1920, no lease is allowed to be given that is greater than 21 years without a right being granted that allows the tenant to be extended a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) to purchase the property. As such we will be granted a 21 year lease minus 3 days.
Along with the CIO, we will be given first option on a new lease after the original one expires.

Why not just continue to rent?

Today our rental is based on the goodwill of the Church. We do not have booking priority and in-fact we have restrictions regarding the spaces we are allowed to book.
Given how popular the Jummah and Taraweeh prayers are each year, the level of demand is continuing to increase at pace. By having a more modern facility with a new additional mezzanine floor, new kitchen, new lifts, new wudu facilities and more partitioned spaces the whole community can benefit. In return for our financial assistance, we will have equal participation in the new CIO and have a dedicated Muslim worship area and priority booking across the entire Halls Complex. This means we can accommodate Jummah, Taraweeh and Eid prayers as well as more new Islamic activities that you may wish to suggest /put forward.

Why don't we just buy a house?

Firstly, given the popularity of our Jummah, Taraweeh and Eid events, a house will not be able to accommodate our community.
Secondly, it is unlikely that we will be granted an appropriate legal license to continue offering the service as a Community Centre.
Thirdly, purchasing a house, converting it and obtaining an appropriate legal license will be far more expensive, may take too long and as we all know carries a high level of risk.

Islamic Perspective

Is my donation eligible for Sadaqah Jariah?

Yes – you earn Sadaqah Jariah for providing a place for believers
Sadaqah Jariah means a continuous, flowing and ongoing charity. It is one of the most rewarding acts we can do in our lives as the benefits of giving this type of charity can be reaped in this lifetime and long after we have passed.
Allah (swt) guarantees to record these continuous acts of charity in the following verse:
“Indeed, it is We who bring the dead to life and record what they have put forth and what they left behind, and all things We have accounted for in a clear register.” (Qur’an, 36:12)

Will my donation qualify for Zakaat?

No, this project would not qualify for Zakat. After guidance from our local Imaam and a respected sheik, we will not be able to use any zakat for this project.

Who is providing Islamic guidance for this project and to Iron Aid?

Iron Aid Foundation have been taking guidance from both our local Imam and a respected Sheikh through each stage of this project. We will continue to do so Inn Shaa Allah.

Will the new centre be a mosque?

No. This will be a community centre with a dedicated area for Muslim prayers/worship as well as an increase in space for other activities.

Usage of the New Community Centre

How will the sharing arrangements work with other Hall users?

The CIO will establish procedures for booking the various spaces, giving priority to Iron Aid Foundation for the Mezzanine floor and where appropriate, in the Main Hall(s) complex. Additional restrictions to ensure activities incompatible with our Muslim faith will not be allowed in the Muslim dedicated worship area.

What Islamic activities will be envisaged for the local community?

5 times daily prayers, Jummah and Taraweeh as well as religious lectures and Eid salahs during the winter months. We are intending for there to be knowledge circles, educational classes as well as community and youth services.

Who will I need to contact if I want to use the Halls in future?

The diary will be controlled centrally by an Administrator, their details will be available from our website.

Will the halls complex be available for commercial/private hire?

Yes, private functions such as weddings, birthdays etc will be bookable.

Will the halls be used by other faith groups

It will be available to use by other faith groups (with the exception of the dedicated Muslim worship area)

During the building works, what are the plans to accommodate daily salaah, Jummah etc?

We will coordinate with the builders to minimise disruptions. However during the construction period we may have to move Jummah and the daily prayer sessions to an alternative venue.
A number of alternative venues are being investigated and once we have more information we will make everyone aware through the usual channels.
Please email the Trustees at info@ironaid.org if you have any other questions