Places of worship have found 'alter-native' ways to make money.
UK churches are pocketing around £200 a day – or more than £20,000 a month – by renting out parking space according to new research by YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
The online pre-booking parking service has more than 100 churches listed on its portal, but that's only a fraction of the 16,000 registered place of worship in the UK. Over 85 percent of those are thought to have suitable spaces, meaning most are missing out on the potential of substantial income.
On that is taking advantage is St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate which not only saw an opportunity to offer affordable parking, but also attracted people to look around the church itself, and deter anti-social behaviour in the car park by having more people using it – police figures show that 19 crimes are committed everyday on church property all over the country.
"The parking income helps to support the running costs of the church, which as a Grade I listed building are significant," said St Wilfrid's Church's 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 of the churches listed on YourParkingSpace.co.uk are situated in towns and cities, meaning that they're ideally placed to offer perfect parking solutions that can be pre-booked on an hourly or daily 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 behaviour, while visitors could also be tempted to have a look around the church if it is allowed."