Public Meeting with regards to Masjid Expansion

Assalamualikum,

Following is the summary of questions/answers discussed in the meeting held on Thursday, 7th November 2013. Please overlook if there are any shortcomings in these notes.

  • The first question was raised by Javed Uncle. He asked the chairman to brief about the purchase of the property and the plans for expansion. In reply, the chairman informed all that the expansion plan really started last Ramadhan due to the overfill in Ramadhan and Jummah prayers (this issue was temporary avoided by offering 2 jamat). Furthermore, it was getting difficult for children to learn in the islamic school (madrassa) not only because there are around 120 students attending but it is getting difficult to segregate  male and female. Thirdly, Masjid do not have Friday prayers facilities for ladies and in the last several weeks, women had to go back. The committee had several meetings with the Swindon Council and the council did offered few places however nothing worked out. The City Master Planner also offered a place near B&Q however, that place was next to a sewerage area and it was not considered appropriate. Fourthly, even if we do get land now, it will take 3-4 years to build a purpose built mosque. Thus, to avoid these issues in a short run, the committee have purchased the house next door (trustees have accepted the plan). Though, the committee will continue to work with Swindon Council to secure the right place.  In terms of actual plan, for now the committee has decided to keep the change to minimal. Apart from a new door and new carpet and a toilet for disabled, the house will remain as it is and it will become the new Islamic School (madrassa) and a dedicated place for sisters. The property has been purchased for £140,000. For which around £80,000 has been already been pledged or received. The rest have been assured by Qarzi-Hasna though the committee aim to give back the qarz by end of this year.
  • The second question was raised by Brother Waleed regarding any planned structural changes to the masjid. In repose, the chairman mentioned that no major plans for now at-least though there are many possibilities like expanding the back garden of the house or making it a small car-park/outdoor prayer area.
  • The third question was asked if the toilets will remain in the same place. The response given was yes it was as the sewers  flow towards the back and it may require major changes to the building if try to move the toilets.
  • The fourth question was raised to collect the money upfront and continuously seek donation regardless of any major project. The reply given was that it is a huge responsibility to keep people’s money so we want to raise money as we go.
  • Fifth question raised was to make announcement during Friday prayers and put up people’s name on the board to encourage others.  The committee suggested that they will put the individual amount up on the noticeboard without the names.
  • Sixth was a suggestion raised that executives should pay £5,000 and others to pay £1000. The committee members informed that we have set £1000 as minimum for executives however, they have given up to £2,000 each.
  • Out of total £23,000 pledged, how will the money be collected was the seventh question. The reply given was that we will contact them and ask to pay in the next three weeks.
  • Brother Kashif suggested to set up something like Just Giving so that non-locals can donate easily and it will allow gift-aid contributions as well. The suggestion was taken on board and work is in progress to get that setup.
  • Is Swindon Masjid a registered charity? yes, the registration number is 276549
  • The 10th question was raised about the parking concern. The chairman mentioned that work is in progress and we continue to negotiate with the Swindon council to provide some relief specially during the Friday prayers. Plans include setting 30 minute parking time zone. The chairman also suggested not to park in double yellow line and if we behave well as a community, we will get brownie points.
  • Brother suggested that people should pledge in this meeting a certain amount (example: £5,000) and then go to relatives and friend to reach that target. The committee suggested that if anyone is interested, feel free to contact Mansoor Khan
  • Can we arrange a charity dinner (fund raiser). The committee disclosed that they have received a similar suggestion from of the sisters and hopefully soon you will hear about these events.
  • Are we going to leave the garden next door unused? The committee mentioned that it depends on what planning permissions they get from the council. There is lot of possibilities for the future.
  • We need a community center for our children to address cultural issues. The committee informed that after buying the house next door we will aim to buy the one next to it as well which allow increase the possibilities. Plan to is to grow slowly.
  • A brother asked that Swindon Masjid also offers membership but the fees is only £3 a month. Can we make effort to get more people to sign for standing orders? This was taken on board by the committee and reviewed by everyone including trustee in the coming days.

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