Church parking lots aren’t a busy place these days – not even on Sunday. As restrictions on gathering to worship run rampant across the globe, churches are finding themselves taking in less money. Like many of their worshippers, they’ve having to adapt to the current business climate.
More than 16,000 churches are renting spaces in parking lots as an alternative to street parking. In the U.K., 100 churches are making more than £20,000 each month, an average of £200 each, by renting out their empty car park spaces to motorists needing somewhere to park via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
One of those churches is St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate, who saw the opportunity to make some money while having a populated parking lot serve as a theft deterrent.
Photo courtesy of YourParkingSpace.co.uk
“The parking income helps to support the running costs of the church, which as a Grade I listed building are significant,” said Rebecca Oliver St. Wilfred’s Church facilities and commercial manager. “Using YourParkingSpace.co.uk is a straightforward and affordable way for a church to monetise its car park, without having to spend a lot of time managing it.”
Many churches listed with YourParkingSpace.co.uk are located near city and town centers, where demand for parking spaces is traditionally high, and can be pre-booked on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis.
“Churches offering their empty parking spaces makes perfect financial sense, you could almost describe it as ‘pray and display’,” said Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk. “However, the extra income is just one benefit as a busy car park deters anti-social behavior, while visitors could also be tempted to have a look around the church if it is allowed.”
In addition to churches, homeowners are renting out extra space in their driveways. Coastal towns including Bournemouth, Blackpool, Margate and Great Yarmouth, have witnessed rented driveway bookings rocket by at least 220 per cent as people head to the shore to escape their city confines.
“Our research shows that Southend-on-Sea has enjoyed a massive 375 per cent increase in rented driveway bookings post-lockdown, the highest by some way,” said Woods. “I would expect demand here to only increase in August throughout the summer holidays, and at other seaside resorts, with many people preferring a staycation.”