HOW TO… Set up a ‘Friends of’ Group

A Friends of Group is usually set up to enable a group of volunteers to undertake practical projects. Any community of people can set one up and it’s a great way to manage a Green Community Hub. The key to success is passion and commitment, but there are also some key steps you need to follow, these are outlined below.

Set up a committee

Every member has a voice, and committee meetings are a place to share ideas, develop learning, and agree on future plans. There are certain roles you will need including a Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. See below for information on each of these.

Write a Constitution

This is a document that sets out exactly how your group will be managed, your aims and objectives, and how meetings will be run.

Agree a Code of Conduct

This outlines what behavior is expected during meetings. It usually references things like the use of mobile phones, the importance of respect for each other, and the way meetings will be run.

Hold an AGM

Groups will need to hold an AGM (Annual General Meeting) in the first instance to formally adopt its constitution to fairly elect committee members. AGMs should then be held each year as a way of re-electing committee members and presenting an Annual Report, including financial accounts, to other members of the group.

Set up a bank account

Once your group is formally established, it should set up a bank account so that any funds can be managed appropriately. The account should be in the name of the group and will require at least two people (usually committee members) to act as signatories each time a transaction is made.

Don’t forget Insurance!

Every time a public activity, such as a community clear-up, event, growing session, or fun day, is organised, public liability insurance is needed to cover accidents on a public site. Risk assessments are also required for each activity, in order to identify potential risks associated, and to put in place measures to reduce the risks.

Committee Member Roles

Chairperson: The Chair helps to organise meetings and ensures that they run smoothly. They will set the agenda for the AGMs and should also manage other members to ensure that all the tasks are being undertaken properly.

Secretary: The secretary will take minutes during meetings and maintain the admin of the group. This includes ensuring that records of meetings are stored and shared effectively and that all legal documents are correct and up to date.

Treasurer: The Treasurer is responsible for the finances of the group. This includes managing the bank account, and ensuring that all receipts are recorded. They also usually manage funding bids and financial planning.

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