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Friends of Parks groups

Pages in Friends of Parks groups

  1. What is a friends group?
  2. Developing a friends group
  1. Friends constitution
  2. Friends of Parks groups

Developing a friends group

Canley green spaces friends of parks 2

If you would like to start a friends group you will need to create a constitution.

Framework

The framework for this will be as follows:

  • Give the group a name
  • Identify the physical boundary of the greens pace concerned
  • Identify the aims, objectives and methods for achieving those aims
  • Powers
    • Setting 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 etc.
  • 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.

Arrangements for meetings

  • 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.

Finances

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 members are:

  • 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 take minutes.
  • Treasurer - This member takes care of the financial affairs of the group. 

Insurance

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.

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