New startup helps churches with property needs
To help with sharing their property spaces that often lie unused during the week, Uniting Churches have partnered with Vennu, a service that helps local community groups manage and rent their property spaces, so they can turn idle capacity into money for mission and community work.
Suzanne Campbell is the start up’s CEO.
“Vennu is a digital marketplace for community spaces. Our purpose is to build communities, and our goal is to transform the use of space,” she said.
“You know how community spaces like church halls, school halls, town halls, sports club rooms and facilities are everywhere, hiding in plain sight? Well, what we do is connect people and places with ease. Think Airbnb for community spaces.”
According to Ms Campbell, the idea for Vennu came from looking around her own hometown.
“In 2017 in my hometown, people were passionately lobbying to construct more community spaces. I was intrigued. Were there no community spaces to fit their needs? I reached out to community leaders, including John and Janet Brentnall at the Uniting Church in Berry, to better understand the challenges in my community.”
In 2018, Vennu launched with the Church on the Mall in Wollongong, and Chittick Lodge in Gerringong as earlier adopters. More recently, St Stephen’s Uniting Church has listed spaces with the service.
“We are excited to collaborate with the Uniting Church at this time as you move to adopt new ways of working and engaging with your communities,” Ms Campbell said.
“Vennu addresses the expectation of customers, accelerated by COVID, that all services will be simpler, convenient, and online.”
Berry Uniting Church listed with Vennu, after a presentation from CEO Suzanne Campbell three years ago. Berry Uniting Church’s Janet Brentnall said that the service had helped the congregation reach a wider part of their local community.
“We have five community spaces that are very well used and Vennu has helped with the advertising, booking, insurance and organisation of these spaces,” Mrs Brentnall said.
“Since we listed with Vennu, it has raised awareness of our properties with a wider demographic and there has been an interesting range of activities in the spaces including a Charity book sale, Paediatric First Aid, Art and Flower workshops, and a wonderful quilting display and workshop. We also placed the Vennu link on our Website, which enables people interested in hiring the spaces to find information quickly and easily.”
For more information on Vennu, visit their official website here. Vennu currently have a special offer for Uniting Churches in NSW and the ACT wishing to list with them. The first 25 Uniting Churches to book before 25 December will recieve a free professional photography package to showcase their rental spaces.