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Community members on a Groundwork project

2. Setting up your group


If you are already an established community group, please feel free to skip this page and move on to the Planning section.


You have the idea and you have probably discussed it with others, now is the time to make it official – let's organise the first meeting and set up a group.

Here are a few questions you may want to think about:

  • Why do we need this project?
  • Is there a general consensus for it in the community?
  • Is there anything else happening in the community that may cause a conflict of interest?
  • Has anyone been involved in anything like this before?
  • Is this the priority for any funding we apply for and receive?
  • Does anyone have any immediate objections or issues at this stage?
  • Do you have anybody in mind for specific roles or responsibilities? - maybe discuss this with them before the first meeting - for more specifics please see the roles and responsibilities section.

These questions can also serve as a good starting point for discussion – you may already know many of the answers but it will help you to bring a framework to the initial meeting.


Initial meeting

You may already have a small group of like-minded individuals but is crucial that you engage the community as early as possible. The details of the date and time of the meeting can be spread in multiple ways; word of mouth, traditional publicity/media and the increasingly popular use of social media (setting up an online group is an excellent means of communication). 

It is important that as many people as possible are informed about the meeting and can attend or are at least advised of the outcome. It is a very simple equation; the more people who support the project the better chance you have of seeing the project funded and completed.

At this stage, don’t get tangled up in details this will come in the planning stage; you have an idea that you can hopefully get agreement on. With this consensus it's time to form yourselves into a recognised group. Remember to get all the attendees to tell their friends as positive interest from the community is always a good thing at the start of a project.

More tips for successful meetings can be found on the Meetings page.


What type of group will you be?

setting up

Unless you are already a registered group you will probably need to become what is called a constituted group. This is merely a group with a governing document such as a constitution or Memorandum of Articles. There is a sample constitution below along with links at the end of the page giving more guidance. Try not to worry, this is a very simple document and just makes the group official so it can receive funding and manage money.

Another thing to consider is whether the area you are planning to work in already has a constituted group you can contact, this is especially relevant when talking about public park spaces with many of them having "Friends of" groups attached. This doesn't stop you having a separate project on the same land but you may find that you have similar goals and can share experience and know-how - click here for a list of local constituted groups.

The other main groups to receive funding are charities and community interest companies (CIC'S) – further details are available here.

Please do not worry about these two groups unless you have a specific need or requirement – a constituted group will be enough to get your project off the ground unless the funding criteria advises otherwise. If in any doubt your Local Authority will also be able to offer help and advice.

Download a sample constitution

Roles

Before initial meeting if you know the nucleus of the group, as previously stated, it will be worth making a few personnel choices. Knowing who is responsible for doing what is key to your group running smoothly and efficiently. Assess what skills, experience and connections are already present within your group and decide who will be given each role. Initially think about who will be the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. You will also need to consider who will manage elements such as strategy and planning, legal and financial issues, community participation and engagement with other organisations such as local authorities. These different elements to the process will become more apparent as we go through the guide.

For more on this go to the Roles and responsibilities section.


Go to the next section - Planning


Useful links

Creating governing documents in England

Creating governing documents in Scotland

Creating governing documents in Wales

Become a charity in England and Wales 

Become a charity in Scotland

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