So the big announcement - the trustees and Director have found a suitable property for us to buy, and Lama Zopa just approved!
You've done such an amazing job at creating merit, that it's all happening faster than we expected, and the property is bigger than any of us imagined! We would need to raise another £100k-£150k to make it happen, but with our merit and enthusiasm, there's nothing we can't achieve. Enjoy reading the details below.
How We Got Here
It's been 18 months since we first launched our campaign to buy our own premises in Leeds, and thanks to all your merit and donations, we reached the stage middle of last year where we could think about purchasing a property sooner rather than later.
At the beginning of this year we found a promising property in Holbeck (South Leeds) and had a viewing with the owner. There were some immediate concerns and also some "wow" moments. So the trustees met and talked through the options.
Concerns included: (1) location - is it safe? Holbeck is a poor location. (2) is the property too big? (3) what were the implications for not being in the city centre?
The trustees then had a second viewing and decided we needed more information before we could move forward. So another month went by collecting information.
Concerns were expressed by all, and the information we gathered helped get a clearer picture that actually, yes, this could really work for Jamyang Leeds.
A second meeting on the project was called last weekend to decide if we had enough information, and if we should ask Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Nearly all the trustees felt now was the right time to ask Rinpoche, and then 2 days later, Rinpoche replied that yes, "It came out good to buy."
Advice from our Lamas
Here's the full advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche:
"Rinpoche checked and advised that yes it comes out good to buy.
BUT make sure to check the property thoroughly, especially that everything is legal. Be thorough please.
Then it needs a controlling and wrathful fire puja, and best is to do those on the property. Lama Monlam comes out very good to do those for the centre - he is in Italy sometimes.
Rinpoche said it is also important to have good feng shui done for the property according to how you plan to use it."
We also consulted Geshe Tashi twice before going to Rinpoche, here's a selection of his advice. Of course we're a little sad Geshe-la won't be around much now to teach in our new building.
- Cost first thing - can you afford it
- Dharma classes - how will they be affected
- Time is right
- Location will change
“…you should give serious thought to secure the building. The condition of the location will change. Yesterday after I received your email I did a short puja and I gave long thought about it and I feel positive that the building be could be good for the centre's future.”
Clyde Works - Location
- Holbeck, South Leeds.
- From city centre: 10 mins drive, 15 mins bus ride, 20-25 mins walk.
- Free on street parking
- Buses every 10-15 mins throughout the day
- Total of approx. 33,000 sq.ft. (3,065 sq.m)
OFFICE AREA GROUND FLOOR (4,000 sq.ft)
large reception area
7 large offices
1 large hall
large boiler room
OFFICE AREA FIRST FLOOR (4,000 sq.ft)
3 large offices
2 large communal areas
WAREHOUSE 1 (15,000 sq.ft)
WAREHOUSE 2 GROUND FLOOR (5,000 sq.ft)
WAREHOUSE 2 FIRST FLOOR (5,000 sq.ft)
Here are some of the issues the Director and Trustees have identified and some solutions.
Location: we talked to local businesses who said they had only been broken into once in 12 years, low car crime - actually crime figures are less than our city centre location. Not affected in anyway by the 'managed area' which is actually safer than some areas due to police presence. The immediate area is very poor and perhaps not interested in meditation/buddhism: but our catchment area has always been wider than just the immediate location.
Dharma classes: we would expect to loose most of our lunchtime classes, so we are proposing to keep a city centre connection (e.g. we've been offered some free space). Evening weekday classes could also be affected, so we'll aim to offer more retreat and weekends to compensate.
Hire-out/income generation: lots of potential here, to support our activities. Renting warehouse space/office space, by the hour and longer-term.
Volunteers: with regular opening hours, we'd need more volunteers for sure. We've made links with some volunteer schemes in Leeds, and we'd also run a live-in volunteer option for 2-3 people.
These are just a selection of issues we identified. We have detailed reports on these and other issues. Just let us know if you'd like more info.
We've put together a first example of what a 20-year development plan for the property could look like. These are just provisional ideas: we want your input! Plus we need to get feng shui advice as per Rinpoche's instructions.
View the provisional plan here
(Click "PRESENT" button, top right, to view full-screen)
A Northern Hub
Leeds is uniquely placed in the middle of the UK to provide easy access to Buddhist teachings and events. Just a few hours drive from the East and West coasts, and just over 2-hour train journeys from London, Liverpool; 3 hours from Edinburgh; 1 hour from Hull and the East coast. Part of our development plan is to be a hub for the North of England as our catchment area is much wider than just the city of Leeds.
The Next Steps - Consultation
We want to hear your views! You've all been instrumental in getting us to this stage, so we're listening. Please let us know your thoughts.
Email/phone or talk in person to:
Director: Kerry Prest - email@example.com
Trustees: Andrew Asquith, David Midgley, Craig Skeet, Fiona Porteous, Jay Simpson, Ken Lunn (Chair), Rebecca Freer, Rowena Field & Unjyn Park.
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View the YouTube presentation here explaining all the details - some questions you have could be answered there.
The Next Steps - Fundraising
To make sure we don't have too much mortgage debt right at the beginning, we would need a further £150,000 to purchase with a mortgage, or £250,000 to purchase outright. Depending on what offer is accepted by the owner.
- Can you pledge to contact 4 potential donors?
- Email us and we'll send you a template letter, brochure and business plan to send to potential donors.
- Direct people to our website site.
- Keep creating the merit.
“Don’t be afraid to ask potential donors” Dagri Rinpoche, Leeds 2016
Over the past 12 months we looked and lots of properties. We started to look in the city centre as this would have been our ideal choice. However, it gradually become clear that for the space we wanted in the city centre we'd need to raise around £1m-£1.5m, slightly over our budget.
So we started to look at 10-15mins walk from the city centre and then slightly further again. Here's a selection of what we found on our search.
- Church in Headingley (25 mins walk from city centre) - refit would have been too costly.
- 10 mins walk from station - covenant wouldn't allow religious organisations
- Doctors Surgery in Harehills - not enough space for gompa or cafe
- Sports Club in Hunslet - to far South
- City Centre, £750k for not much extra space