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How St Mary Hornsey Rise is driving revenue and community engagement by partnering with Sharesy


Dan Moross

About the church

St Mary Hornsey Rise is a lively, multi-cultural and community-based church in Islington, London. St Mary Church is compassionate in serving its community and seeks to welcome everyone. As the Vicar, Tamsin Merchant is responsible for leading worship at the church, but also handles everything from church strategy to rubbish disposal, pastoral care to lettings.

In addition to the main church, they have a hard floor area, a garden and two smaller rooms (Purple Room and Yellow Room) available for hire.

The challenge

Historically, lettings at St Mary Church have been very limited. With no clear process and a lack of time, Tamsin “didn’t really know how to generate lettings revenue with such limited time and resources”. After Covid so much had changed and Tamsin was keen to find ways to boost the church’s lettings.

Through a chance encounter with Felix (Sharesy’s founder), another local vicar learned all about Sharesy. It seemed like a great opportunity for local churches, so she introduced Sharesy to Tamsin, who is the Area Dean for Islington.

Tamsin hoped that Sharesy could help resolve some major lettings challenges at the church.

Time wasters: Due to its location, the church received a steady flow of inbound enquiries. It managed to secure a handful of bookings, but Tamsin often spent countless hours talking with customers about potential bookings which didn’t materialise.

No set process: Without any in-house expertise or standard availability, negotiating with bookers and working out what was possible was really difficult. St Mary Church had no pricing strategy and little internal processes. Furthermore, the church’s desire to be accommodating meant they were often too generous on pricing!

Chicken and egg scenario: The church didn’t have the lettings revenue to employ someone to manage lettings. And without someone to manage lettings, the church didn’t have the resources to secure new bookings.

No suitable platform on the market: Tamsin saw that other churches were using platforms to help with lettings, but none that felt a good fit for a community church like St Mary. The other online platforms all seemed to require her to handle most of the admin and were really expensive.

Aside from a long term letting agreement with a Montessori nursery, St Mary was making less than £150 per month from lettings.

How St Mary Hornsey Rise is driving revenue and community engagement by partnering with Sharesy

The solution

Tamsin did her research, looked at the Sharesy website and after speaking with Felix decided to give it a try: “It felt like a great match and the timing of the opportunity was perfect”.

With no long term commitment, there were no big hurdles to get over. “All I had to do was register and get started with onboarding.” Sharesy helped to determine which spaces to list, the pricing strategy and calendar. Having to commit to a set schedule provided much needed structure.

Sharesy’s mission resonated with Tamsin and she was excited to be part of a platform that would benefit local communities: “For me - the ethos of drawing people together to provide a strong network of community venues is really exciting. Covid did this - bringing people in the community together - levelled out conversations and stopped people being frightened of one another. Competition is fine, but greater choice for the community is wonderful.”

After going live in early 2023, the bookings quickly began to generate significant revenue for the church and alleviate the challenges previously faced. Since January 2023, St Mary Hornsey Rise has generated over £14,000 worth of bookings and Sharesy has had a wide ranging impact.

Bringing in new bookers: Sharesy has attracted an array of different bookers - kids parties, regular group activities, community events. Tamsin loves that “because our doors are open during the week, people who come in now see the space being used and discover who we are”.

Increasing their profile: Many new bookers are from the local area - the people using their spaces are based in the neighbourhood and in some cases have become part of the church community. The experience people are having at the church continues their tradition at the heart of the community, with Tamsin saying: “Sharesy has helped to increase our profile and the reach of our church. One booker noticed we run a food bank, decided to leave their leftovers and made a donation too!”

Investing in improvements: The regular income received from these new lettings has given the church confidence to invest in their people and facilities. The church is now able to forecast future earnings and commit to improvements to AV equipment, repairs to the church itself and have even begun paying volunteers for their time.

Freeing up time: Working with the Sharesy team has provided some much needed time savings and expertise.

“Working with Jack, Evie and the rest of the Sharesy team has been great. Everybody pays attention to the questions we’re asking and looks to find the best solution, particularly when it comes to negotiating with long term bookers.”

The icing on the cake is that Tamsin can now afford to pay for a part time church administrator. Lizzie now helps with some lettings, but when bookings aren’t taking up all of her time, she is helping with a longstanding to-do list.

A venue at the heart of their community

With Sharesy’s help, St Mary Hornsey Rise has reached a new audience and increased its profile in the local community. The bookings are not just generating income for the church to invest for the future, but also bringing new people into the church and shining a light on the great work it is doing to help those in need.

Community and being “part of something bigger” is vital to Sharesy’s mission and is something which Tamsin really values.

“The fact that we’re part of a platform which is serving local people and benefiting community venues is amazing. Helping churches, schools and community centres - this really resonates with what I think communities should be doing.”

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