Getting involved in the community is not always as simple as popping off to your local Town Council office and signing up as a volunteer. Some councils are underfunded and understaffed and do not have the resources to properly assist with a new project. If you have experienced the struggle of trying to make a difference in your community, we can assist.
Our latest Local Business Spotlight, the inspirational Crewe Clean Team, are experts in establishing a positive and effective community project. We recently met up with Crewe Clean Team Chairman Dave McDonald for his top tips for starting a community group.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
If you are considering starting a community group, the first thing to do is go and see someone who’s already done it. They will have gone through the administrative tasks and will be the best ones to guide you.
Ask for help
If you need equipment or money, go and ask people for it. Quite often if you’re running a community group, you can get a grant to buy equipment, but you can’t get a grant for running costs. The running costs may include stationery, uniforms and basic office supplies. Don’t be afraid to contact local businesses and ask for assistance. Many of them will have set aside a budget for volunteer or community projects, but they simply never get asked.
Don’t overstretch yourself
Establish what your core project is going to be and stick to that, particularly in the beginning. If your volunteers have signed up for a specific task, you need to ensure that it gets done first. As a community group leader, you may have a dozen other projects that you would like to get to, but until you have the resources to see it done correctly, you should focus on making your core project a success.
Find good people
When starting, it’s important to find a similar group to talk to and glean information from, but you should also surround yourself with the right people. From the people who will be making up your committee to your coordinator, treasurer and volunteers, you want to select people who are brilliant at what they do and have a passion for your cause.
Do your homework
Do you want to form part of a Town Council project or remain an entirely separate community group? Will you host public fundraising events, ask for Council assistance, request financial aid from local businesses or apply for grants? What is your core project going to be? It’s vital to do your homework in every aspect, as getting your project off the ground may take more time than you expect.
If you would like to get involved with the Crewe Clean Team or get in touch for a bit of guidance, visit their Facebook Page. With a successful decade of community service under their belt, you couldn’t be in better hands.
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