Developing a friends group
If you would like to
start a friends group you will need to create a constitution.
framework for this will be as follows:
- Give the group a name
- Identify the physical boundary of the greens
- Identify the aims, objectives and methods for achieving those aims
up a bank account.
- Regular meetings and communicating the progress of the meetings,
- Carrying out general
service improvements and practical tasks
- Fundraising for projects
- Holding events in the park
- Membership - identify the dynamic for the group and identify if there will be
different classifications of membership. For example, subscriptions, joining fees
- Management Committee - definition of committee structure, member roles. Election and resignation
processes. Terms of office for the various posts.
Be sure to include a statement of equal opportunities
irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, physical and mental ability.
- Location and frequency.
- Remember there will be
committee meetings, general meetings and annual general meetings.
- There will need to be
clear identification of the decision making process at the meetings.
- Ensure there is a
written agenda to keep people to the point.
- Make sure notes are
taken of the meeting with action points and a distribution list for copies to
be sent to relevant people.
For the bank account there will need to be two
unrelated members to be signatories for the group. It is usual for one of these
to be the group's treasurer
Dissolution of the group
There needs to be a procedure for dissolving the group
including informing the Charities Commission (if applicable), the managing
authority and closure of accounts
Identify the committee
To be elected by the
wider membership (usually around 20 members).
Four core committee
- The Chairperson - This member acts as the leader of the group. This person is often
the main link with the Local Authority. They also ensure the smooth
running of the committee.
- Vice - Chairperson - acts to support the Chairperson's role
- Secretary - This member ensures all group members are kept informed of progress and
future initiatives of the group. They also write agendas for meeting and
- Treasurer - This member takes care of the financial affairs of the group.
If your group intends to
carry out practical tasks then you will need insurance - public liability
insurance (to cover accidents to the public on site) - personal accident
insurance (to cover volunteers working on site).
Find out more details by visiting the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Charitable Trust status
If you wish to raise
money then you may wish to apply for charitable trust status. This will
enable the group to access a far greater range of funding. The group will
need to publish annual accounts and reports to support any application.
Find out more by visiting the Charity Commission.
Working in partnership with the land manager
The majority of open
green space in Coventry is managed by the Council. It's important that the
ideas and goals of the friends group work in partnership with the existing Park
Strategy or Park Management Plan. This will make sure the group's objectives
are achievable and do not conflict with the aims of the Local Authority to
ensure a strong partnership approach to managing the park and helping the
friends group to be successful.