Starting a local group

In this section:

Setting up a local group

Getting started

  • Pick a safe and accessible place to hold your first meeting
    Advertise the first meeting locally
  • Identify the best ways of contacting and encouraging individual LGB people to come along.
  • Invite other LGB groups to take part. Click here for a list of local groups by region.

Your first meeting will set the basis for developing and sustaining the group so take some time to get to know each other and discuss the aims and activities of the group. Decide who will be the members and what the purpose of the group will be. It will help to identify what skills and expertise people bring to the group.

Strong communication links are important to the success of your group. If you all have email addresses you could set up e-groups through various internet servers like Yahoo or Google.

If you want to restrict your membership to LGB people you will need to be aware of the Equality Act 2010 which may have restrictions for private members’ clubs and associations on the inclusion of a particular sexual orientation as a membership criterion. Click here for further information.

Resources for setting up a group

The following organisations provide information and guidance on establishing a group.

VolResource

www.volresource.org.uk
VolResource aims to make it quick and easy to get to useful information on anything to do with running a voluntary organisation (whether a community group, charity or other non-profit body).

Community Matters

www.communitymatters.org.uk
Community Matters is the National Federation for Community Organisations with 1100 member organisations across the UK.
They have an excellent resource of Information Sheets on a broad range of useful topics such as:

  • Holding AGM meetings
  • The roles of Treasurer / Chair / Secretary
  • Equal opportunities policy
  • Organising an event.

Community Matters
12-20 Baron Street London N1 9LL
Telephone: 020 7837 7887 Fax: 020 7278 9253
Email: communitymatters@communitymatters.org.uk

Groundswell UK 'Toolkit for Change'

www.groundswell.org.uk
Groundswell have produced a guidance manual called 'Toolkit for Change', with practical advice on setting up and running a project, which can be downloaded from their website. Groundswell is a national charity supporting networks of people and projects committed to inclusive approaches to tackling homelessness, poverty and exclusion.

Groundswell
Elmfield House 5 Stockwell Mews London SW9 9GX
Telephone: 020 7737 5500 Fax: 020 7733 1305
E-mail: info@groundswell.org.uk

Developing your group

This section provides information about strengthening your group to enable you to apply for funding. These next steps are vital to develop and sustain your group.

Constitution

A constitution is a document that describes the rules that govern how your group will operate. It provides the framework for the way your group will function. The constitution explains what your group is, what it is for, who can join and what the rights and responsibilities of the members are. It sets out financial rules such as who controls the money and rules for financial reporting and keeping proper accounts.

A constitution is useful because it ensures everyone knows how decisions are made and who has to face the consequences of them. It also shows others outside your group, such as potential funders or members what your group is for and how its finances are controlled. You may also want to include clauses dealing with disciplinary and grievance procedures for members, a code of conduct, the formation and dissolution of the group and employing staff and acquiring property if appropriate.

If you have an income of less than £1000 you may not need to have charitable registration and can use a constitution for a small non-charitable community organisation.

Click here for an example constitution.

Charitable Status

For charitable status and registration visit the
Charity Commission for England and Wales.  The Charity Commission has published a useful guide called 'Choosing and Preparing a Governing Document' (Ref:CC22), which is aimed at helping charities to set up a constitution but may be useful to smaller groups in a similar position.

Registration as a charity will help you to access support resources such as:

IT for Charities

www.itforcharities.co.uk
IT resource guide for UK charities and non-profit organisations, including links to organisations offering special prices on recycled computer equipment for charities.

CharitySkills

www.charityskills.org
A not-for-profit organisation providing a range of resources for voluntary sector organisations, including information, training and web solutions.

Bank Account

Small community groups or charities may be able to get 'free' banking but this may mean the loss of interest and higher costs per transaction. It is worth assessing what types of transaction you process most (e.g. volume of small cheque receipts as opposed to large direct credits such as grants) as this can make a large impact on which bank is the best for you. VolResource has lists of banks for community organisations providing current accounts, deposit takers and investment services.

Links to other voluntary groups

Voluntary organisations range from small community based organisations to larger more well known groups. Becoming a part of the voluntary sector can be beneficial to groups.

Consortium of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Voluntary and Community Organisations

www.lgbconsortium.org.uk 
The Consortium mainly operates in England It has the following priorities:

  • Supporting links between groups at a regional and local level
  • Developing networking between groups undertaking similar work across the UK
  • Improving information about and access to funding opportunities for lgb groups
  • Promoting opportunities for lgb people to become involved in voluntary and community action
  • Developing a national voice for the sector
  • Forging links with mainstream organisations that can offer specialist support to projects.

Consortium of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Voluntary and Community Organisations
Unit J414, Tower Bridge Business Complex, 100 Clements Road
Southwark, London SE16 4DG
Tel:020 7064 8383
E-mail: admin@lgbtconsortium.org.uk

Wales Council for Voluntary Organisations

www.wcva.org.uk
The WCVA is the voice of the voluntary sector in Wales. They represent and campaign for voluntary organisations, volunteers and communities representing the views of its members and the wider voluntary sector to the Welsh assembly, the Charity Commission, the EU and other bodies. It also provides information and advice to voluntary organisations through its helpdesk, publications, Network News magazine, events and information networks.

Councils for Voluntary Service or Voluntary Councils

www.wcva.org.uk
There are Councils for Voluntary Service or Voluntary Councils in each of the local authorities and they encourage the participation of community groups and voluntary organisations in voluntary activity and provide support and information to their member voluntary groups.

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