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From holiday playgroups to parties and nativity, there is plenty your church can do around Christmas time to create that sense of community spirit for children. But what opportunities does your kitchen offer during the festive period?

With schools closed over Christmas, there are many ways to bring children together to enjoy your church, while utilising your kitchen to bring in revenue across the winter months. However, before embarking on new initiatives, there are several things to consider…

Church playgroup
Playgroups are an excellent way to create a community feel and a fun space for children to play when nurseries are closed. But before starting a playgroup in your church, it’s important to first ensure all children are safe and in a clean environment. Carry out a safety audit of the space you intend to use and remember to provide toddler-sized tables and chairs as toddlers can fall off adult-sized furniture. Then think about your team – whether it’s made up of your congregation or those working in the church already. And gauge how many families with preschool children in your local area would consider being part of the playgroup before deciding on the best time to meet every week – you can either do this by word of mouth, leaflets or even Facebook.

It might also be worth considering the age limit for your group – would you welcome school-age siblings into the setting? Or could you open a volunteering experience for teenagers who aren’t at school?

In most cases, your church will have the insurance to cover the playgroup, but it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of all equipment and a record of accidents and incidents. And if you’re planning to charge for families to attend, consider whether this fee includes food. Do you have the facilities to make 50 cups of tea? Or would you like to provide a small lunch menu? And how will you make sure children are kept away from your busy kitchen? Remember, a new church kitchen could make all the difference to what you can offer local parents.

Children’s parties
Does your current kitchen space allow for children to enjoy pizza-making parties, for example? Or an afternoon of Christmas cookie baking? Whether you want to open your church to private children’s parties, allowing party goers to serve up their own sausage rolls and chicken bites, or you want to make your new kitchen available for children to enjoy, you must think about what the space can offer. Do you have the fridge capacity to store pre-made ham sandwiches? And is your equipment sufficient to wash up 40 dirty plates and cups?

With a kitchen from Steelplan, children’s parties can bring in an incredible amount of revenue for your church, during the festive period and beyond. But would you consider events for those in your community who are 18+?

Larger parties
When it comes to renting out your church hall and kitchen to adult parties – at Christmas and throughout the year – there is a little more to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to think about your stance on alcohol at your church. Would you be happy for guests to bring their own, or would you prefer only soft drinks and hot beverages? As you’re not selling or supplying alcohol for guests to drink, you won’t need to apply for a license. In fact, the consumption of alcohol isn’t licensable, so it really is your church’s own personal decision.

Also, you will need to agree on the overall cost of hiring your church hall – and will this include use of the kitchen? You might decide to charge a small amount per hour if the kitchen isn’t in use, or more per evening, particularly when guests need to use your equipment and facilities. Plus, most councils will specify a time when your venue will need to be vacated – but it’s often 11pm.

Sunday school nativity
If your church already runs a weekly Sunday school for children of your congregation, now is the perfect time to organise a nativity. Book in dates for the show and make sure you have staff or parents on board to help out. Then base your casting choices on the children’s individual attributes and plan each rehearsal in advance so they know what to expect each week.

And think about whether you’d like to provide refreshments during the show, or even a Christmas meal to everyone who takes part – volunteers included! With events such as these, your kitchen can still play a pivotal role in bringing your community together and creating a memorable event for everyone.

At Steelplan Kitchens we are focused on creating a robust, warm and homely semi-commercial kitchen for your church – one that is suitable for your whole community. Call us on 0844 809 9186 to find out about your options.

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