Starting your group
If you are interested in setting up a group there are a number of steps to take before you can start operating.
Work through the list below in order. Some steps may not be relevant to you, as these are general guidelines and no two groups are the same. If in doubt, give us a call on 01942 514234 or email us at [email protected].
1. First Steps – an action plan
- What do you want to do? Think specifically, will your idea benefit only the group members or the wider community? Write down your aims, thinking towards the future as well as the present. You will need these for your constitution.
- Where do you want to do it? How big a geographical area are you going to cover? It is better to start small and grow.
- Who do you want to do it with? If you are providing a service, is it for a specific group or people living in a defined area?
- Is there any overlap with other groups? You need to do some research to find out if there are any existing groups. If you are duplicating what already exists you may well find getting funding difficult.
- Could you work in partnership with others? If there are existing groups, is your idea something new that could be a useful addition?
- Getting others on board. There is no way you are going to be able to do all this yourself. Find people you can share the running of the group with. Funders look for a shared vision.
- Consultation. Is there a demand for what you want to do? Most funders want to see that there is a need for your idea. Use posters and leaflets to find out the level of interest. Questionnaires or ideas written from the people who will benefit from your group will be useful in securing funding.
- Organise your committee. Discuss the roles and responsibilities of those who will be on the committee.
- Hold your first general meeting. Here, you will adopt your constitution and elect your committee.
- Develop a constitution. All groups, however small, must have a set of rules to work by. Support agencies like CVS will help you produce a simple, easy to understand, constitution.
- Open a bank account. Whilst two signatories are the rule, it is useful to have three or four, from whom two can be selected.
3. Up and Running
- Getting funding. Think carefully about how much you need and what you are going to do with it. Be aware that you must be able to manage the project, particularly if it involves owning/leasing property, employing staff or signing service level agreements.
- Using volunteers. Volunteers fulfil an extremely useful role in many organisations. Think carefully how they could be best used.
- Networking. Join relevant partnerships and umbrella organisations. Many similar groups will have identified problems and solutions that you can learn from.
- Insurance. Dependent on your group there may be insurance requirements. Make sure any company you are dealing with knows that you are a voluntary group and inform them if you use volunteers.
- Policies and procedures. Again, depending on your group you may need to develop certain policies and procedures. Support agencies will have templates you will be able to adapt.
All of this may appear at first sight to be daunting, but it is best to get your organisation on a sound footing right from the start. Support is at hand and remember, it can be done!
For information on funding visit our funding page