Prior to establishing a new community group, it is important to first determine if a similar/same group already exists in the local area and, ultimately, if there is a need for a new group. Supporting the efforts of an existing group helps to build capacity to deliver services and avoids service duplication which, among other issues, has a detrimental impact on grant funding opportunities. You can search for existing groups in your area through browsing www.onecarluke.org.uk, VASLan’s Locator Tool or the Scottish Charity Register.
If a need has been identified, a community group in its simplest form can be established through following the straightforward process below:
- Identify a committee of at least three people, preferably not related or resident at the same address.
- Develop a set of rules known as a constitution.
- Hold a minuted meeting in order to adopt the constitution and agree to open a bank account in the group’s name.
- Take the signed constitution, minutes of the meeting and the required identification to the chosen bank in order to open an account.
There is no need to then register the organisation with a local authority or any other organisation or agency; with the constitution adopted and the bank account in place, the group can seek funding and start delivering activities. However, there are other factors to take into consideration including personal liability, what the group can and can’t do and what if charitable status is desired/required.