There are always lots of questions we get asked regarding using our services. We have therefore compiled a list of our most popular questions below. If however there is a question you would like to ask that is not listed below, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01332 360737 or via email on contact@derbyopencentre.org

This learning is linked to the locally Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education available in the schools catchment. In addition to this, it will also support the children’s learning on ‘Promoting British Values’ through showing tolerance and mutual respect. We also believe that it is increasingly important that pupils have an understanding of the diversity of religious traditions, practices and forms of worship found in our country.

If you see our ‘Faith Trails’ page you will be able to find out more about the different options available to you.

If you see our ‘Workshops’ page you will be able to find out more about the different options available to you. However; if you have something specific in mind that is not listed under our workshops menu – please do not hesitate to contact us, as we may be able to create something for you. (This is actually how many of our workshops begin).

Below is an example of the three most popular programmes many schools choose to follow when visiting the Open Centre;

Option 1 – Two different places of worship followed by a workshop

Option 2 – One place of worship followed by two workshops

Option 3 – Three places of worship

It depends on where you are visiting; this information can be found on your booking form. If you are visiting one place of worship and nothing else, then more than likely you will arrive and depart from that place of worship. If you are going to be visiting multiple places of worship, more than likely you will arrive at the Open Centre. Departure locations can vary but your booking form will tell you this. All the places of worship are within a short walk of one another – no more than 10 minutes away. There is no reason to be transported via bus to the different locations, as this can take longer than walking. If you would like to know more about the walking routes, please contact the Open Centre and we will be able to provide you with this information.

The cost of a visit to the Open Centre will depend on what activities the group are taking part in, how many Open Centre staff will be needed to run the activities, along with group sizes, donations (if visiting a place of worship), lunch room hire (if staying for lunch) and any material costs involved (if taking part in additional workshops). We have always tried to ensure our visits are affordable, especially if the visit has coach costs attached to it. This is something the local SACRE’s (Standing advisory Council for Religious Education) have noted.

The cost for workshops/activities in school will depend on the type of activities, how long the programme is, the number of Open Centre staff required to lead the activities along with material and travel costs. We will always aim to work to a schools budget.

Please see our bookings and prices page for more information.

The Open Centre is a charity and non-profit and is completely self-funded. We charge for visits for a number of reasons, which include;

Risk Assessments – We conduct detailed risk assessments for visits/activities which are reviewed regularly. This takes a lot of time for our staff to complete but the aim is to save visitors time in having to conduct their own risk assessments.

Staff Training – The Open Centre leads regular staff training for all staff and volunteers involved in order to continually improve and evolve the activities we facilitate. This includes first aid training, food hygiene training, safeguarding training as well as specific training related specifically to the activities we lead.

Staff – All the staff that lead activities at the Open Centre are paid. We do work with volunteers occasionally but they do not lead our activities – they tend to assist out paid staff.

Administrative fees – On average, a booking will take around two hours of admin time and considering we work with over 200 schools/organisations every year – this amount of time adds up. We therefore need to cover this with paying staff administrative time to ensure you receive all the necessary information for your booking.

Safeguarding – All our staff are DBS checked and are part of the update DBS service, which has an annual fee attached. As our staff are paid, it costs us in excess of £70 annually, per staff member to maintain their DBS information.

Donations – In the 1980’s, we never asked for visitors to provide the place of worship for donations, however we found that many never voluntarily provided a donation when given the choice. As these places have been kind enough to open their doors to the visitors and in some cases provide visitors with a meal for free – we now factor a donation into the visit cost so the communities can re-invest this money back into the local community.

Each calendar month, the Open Centre tallies up the number of visits for each place of worship. We then write a cheque addressed to each place of worship for that month. The places of worship then can cash the cheques distributing the donations as they please.

Generally, you will not need to be transported via coach to each place of worship as many are within a short walk of the Open Centre. The only exception to this is if you are visiting the Cathedral after the Open Centre as this is a good 30 minute walk. If you would like to know more regarding how far the places of worship are from the Open Centre, please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with this information.

We work with a range of different places of worship both in Derby and Nottingham. If you would like specific information on which place of worship you are visiting, please contact us as we can provide you with this information.

All visitors are advised to wear trousers when visiting the places of worship. We recommend this for several reasons for example, if you are visiting during the colder months (as the group will walk from one location to another) it will help to keep them warm. We also recommend it for modesty reasons because in most places of worship we work with, visitors are required to sit on the floor and for this reason we feel trousers are more suitable when doing this. We do not expect visitors to go out and buy trousers, any type of trouser e.g. leggings, jogging bottoms or jeans are appropriate. We are also ok with girls wearing a skirt with thick black tights or leggings underneath, if they are unable to wear trousers. A head covering is also needed when visiting the Mosque or Sikh Gurdwara – please see ‘what type of head covering is suitable’ section for more information on this.

A head covering is needed when visiting the Mosque and Sikh Gurdwara. Visitors are asked to cover their head as a sign of respect when entering the building. At no point does this mean visitors will take part in any act of worship nor does it mean they have converted to the religion. Think of it like wearing a school uniform, this is part of the uniform people wear when attending these places of worship. It also gives visitors a first-hand experience of what it is like to be a Muslim or a Sikh (something many of our visitors enjoy about the experience – trying on something new). A woolly hat, scarf, cap or even a hood on a coat are suitable. We just ask that the caps have no offensive logos or profanity written on them and that the woolly hat is not in the shape of an animal, as for many of our places of worship, animals are seen as sacred and should therefore not be shown in this way. If you are unable to provide a head covering, the Open Centre has many spares that can be shared out.

Each venue has a limited number of toilets visitors can use but to ensure we keep to our running times, please keep toilet breaks to a minimum. If a toilet break is needed, children must be accompanied to the toilet by an adult and must notify Open Centre staff, particularly if they need to go during a session at a place of worship. ‘Buffers’ are included in the timetable for the day to help minimise disruption to sessions for toilet breaks.

At no point will any visitor take part in an act of worship.

Yes, we are more than happy to lead a pre-visit for any visits. However, we ask that these are booked in advance with our manager, Sam, to ensure she is available to answer any of your questions and to show you around. Please do not turn up at the Open Centre without an appointment, as there may not be anyone available at that time to help you. If you would like to arrange a pre-visit either call 01332 360737 or email manager@derbyopencentre.org

As we are an educational provider, we have risk assessments for all our activities. At the time of booking, you will be sent a copy of our most recent risk assessments that are applicable to your booking(s). If you have booked in advance of when the risk assessment is due to be reviewed, we will then send you out the most up to date one before your visit. Our manager reviews all our risk assessments informally throughout the year but formally every September. Our risk assessments cover the majority of risks, however we ask that schools conduct their own risk assessments specific for their setting alongside the Open Centres to ensure all risks are mitigated. If you would like to arrange a pre-visit in order to carry out your own risk assessment, please see the question above for how to go about this.

All visitor safety is our priority. All our staff receive annual safeguarding training and every three years will participate in emergency first aid at work training. Our staff are never left alone with groups, as we require schools staff to remain with the children at all times. If a child discloses anything to our staff of a safeguarding matter, our staff will follow our safeguarding policy in relation of what to do next. Staff talks are also monitored throughout the year through ‘drop in’ observations and formal observations to ensure high standards but also to ensure what children are hearing is appropriate. For visits to places of worship, only our office staff and the school staff are aware of the finer details. The places of worship are only aware that a group will visit that day but very limited information beyond that. This information is only shared with a trusted member of that place of worship. We have been working as part of the local community for the last 40 years and know our places of worship and members of them well. If groups ever feel the safety of their group has been compromised, then they should contact the Open Centre manager, Sam, to discuss this further.

The first thing is not to worry. The Open Centre, is very accustom to dealing with issues regarding parental refusal so we are best to advise on how to move forward. We have developed a ‘help guide’ for teachers regarding this. This is available by contacting our manager, Sam, who will be happy to go through it with you before sending it to you, as every situation is different. Our main top tip is to send out trip information as early as possible, we recommend at least 6 weeks in advance so schools have time to address concerns without it compromising the trip which could lead to it being cancelled. To discuss this further, please contact manager@derbyopencentre.org

We want to ensure everyone has the best experience possible, as for some of our visitors this may be their only opportunity to participate in that activity in their life. Visitors with additional needs are just important to us as any other visitor. We therefore ask for this information in advance so we can adapt our services in line with supporting each person’s individual needs.

As our visitors may be participating in activities involving food or visiting a place of worship where food is present it is important for us to know about allergy information in advance to ensure we can identify potential risks and highlight these issues to school staff. We also ask for the severity of any allergies e.g. for nut allergies – can they be in the same room as nuts? The Open Centre will also request allergy information upon arrival or at the start of food activities to ensure nothing has changed since the booking form was created. This is an extra precaution as we have found often things can have changed. The Open Centre will not be liable for any allergic reactions children/staff experience that have not been brought to our attention before hand.

Yes, the Open Centre has wheelchair access including disabled toilets. We ask that you notify us in advance of a wheelchair user so we can ensure the spaces we use are suitable for wheelchairs. We also have a wheelchair of our own at the Open Centre, if one is required at any point during a visit. *Please note, as much as we have wheelchair access and facilities they may not be suitable for the use of large electronic wheelchairs especially in situations where hoists may need to be used in toileting facilities. Please consult Sam, our manager, for more information.

The Open Centre is taking the Covid-19 pandemic very seriously and staff/visitor safety is our priority. Please refer to our Covid-19 policy below for additional information.

Coronavirus-COVID-19 – Policy – Open Centre

We have also updated our risk assessments in line with current government guidance regarding mitigating risks. Please contact Sam, the manager, to request a copy.

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