As we are all aware, the cost of living crisis is hitting everyone at present, and is expected to get worse as winter approaches. At this month’s meeting of the monks and trustees we looked at finances and in particular the two main capital projects. The good news is that donations are currently running just above the 10 year average, though it is anticipated that these will reduce as the financial situation worsens. The temple is protected to a degree in that we took out a four-year fixed price energy deal which runs to December 2023, so in the short term we are not seeing the large rises in energy costs. But of course we can expect to see large increases when the current fixed energy deal comes to an end. The temple building is only partially double glazed so completing this would be the single largest energy efficiency measure we could take. We are having one window replaced between the foyer and the courtyard as the frame was found to be rotten … this one small window alone is around £470 so to replace all single glazed windows will be a significant cost. We are currently researching to see if any grants could be made available and listing all the windows that would need replacing to see what sort of budget we would require, but it does seem to be a most prudent approach to use the remainder of our fixed price energy deal to try to improve the energy efficiency of the temple. We’ll keep you informed of progress.
At the meeting we also discussed the impact of the financial crisis on the two capital projects … the New Hall and the Peace Garden. We noted that the banks are currently restricting lending, and that interest rates are increasing. For us to approach any financial institution for a loan we would need to carry out valuations on the existing temple building and the new hall which would probably cost in the region of £5,000. To spend that sort of money when the banks are not lending easily seems unwise. We also felt that it was unfair on our many supporters to commit the temple to a costly capital project in these financially uncertain times, so we have decided to split the new hall project into two phases – Phase 1 will see the demolition of the perimeter wall around the temple car park and the building of a realigned wall to match the footprint of the new hall. This has a number of practical benefits for the project, and it is likely that we can afford this from existing temple reserves. It was also agreed that we should proceed with the Peace Garden, again from temple reserves. We have therefore instructed our civil / structural designer to create a set of Phase 1 drawings which will be submitted to Building Control in early September. Phase 2 can then be started when the economic climate and building costs are more favourable. We trust that you will agree that this is a necessary, prudent approach in these uncertain times, but if you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
Works to the Pergola roof have been completed, and we are now tidying up the courtyard … of course the more we improve areas the more the adjacent areas look like they need improving, so the list of works just gets longer 😊
The monks are all well, and we are now starting to plan for our Kathina event which this year is sponsored by Waew and Nick Jones. We hope very much that you can join us on Sunday 16th October to help celebrate this important event in the monastic year. It will of course be an opportunity to wish farewell to Than Thirasak and Than Gai who will be leaving the UK on Tuesday 18th October as their visas are due to expire. Currently, Than Gai is planning to return before Songkran next year, and Than Thirasak will return some time after October 2023.
As always, please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions,
With Metta (loving kindness)