Part of the advisory and information role of Supporting Communities is to provide Community Groups and others with relevant information on issues pertaining to Community Development.
We have a selection of fact sheets covering the topics below. These are available for download here or from your Community Development Officer. Please also see our training courses which go into these topics in greater detail.
Annual General Meeting
Why does a group have an AGM? What is the significance of such a meeting?
The AGM is the key to the Community Association year - it is an opportunity to inform the Community of the work that a group has been involved in throughout the year while encouraging more community support and drawing in new committee members with fresh ideas. This factsheet will take you through the steps necessary to properly prepare a group for an AGM, highlighting the importance of the constitution and providing an example of a typical agenda for the meeting.
How to Set Up a Community Group
There are many reasons why a community group may be set-up. This might include a lack of youth services in the area, a need for a play park, issues with things like houses, roads, green areas etc. People who are concerned about such local issues, may come together as a group to try and bring about change in their local area.
It is recommended that anyone wanting to set up a group, work with a support organisation such as Supporting Communities.
Good Practice Advice for Committee Meetings
This fact sheet will cover the day-to-day running of your community group.
Code of Conduct for Committee Meetings
To help ensure committee meetings run smoothly, it is sometimes helpful to put in place a code of conduct. This is adopted by committee members and will set out guidelines for meetings.
Conducting a Survey
It is important to recognise that residents are the real experts of the area in which they live, and with this in mind, know best what is required. It is therefore essential that their views are sought, recorded and acted upon.
Conducting surveys may seem a major task, however, it is a very necessary one as it will give the community group a clearer picture of the problems in the area, ample information when approaching Statutory bodies and other outside agencies.
This factsheet provides your group with information and a step by step guide to help make the process of conducting surveys easier. It deals specifically with questionnaires as they are by far the most common method used by community groups to collect data.
This factsheet provides some useful pointers in completing a funding application as well as some guidance as to how approach various funders, including local Councils, statutory sources and grant-making trusts.
Producing a Community News Sheet
As a group representing the people in your area, it is vital that the wider Community remain informed on what is happening.
A News Sheet is an excellent medium of communication and indeed of encouraging greater active participation. This fact sheet will provide useful guidelines on how to produce an interesting community orientated News Sheet, ideas on who could contribute information, the type of material required, etc. It provides an introduction to developing a News Sheet from the initial collation of items - layout - distribution.
Producing a Strategic Plan
This factsheet explains why strategic and development planning is important to any organisation, not just as a means of guiding its activities, but also as a means of targeting resources and measuring the effectiveness and impact of its work. Find out what a Strategic or a Development Plan is and get some guidelines for developing a plan and the key elements that it should contain.
We also offer a suggested structure and format for a community group development plan with some key tips to guide you through the process.
Records and Bookkeeping
When a Community Group is formed, constituted and office bearers elected, one of the first tasks to be undertaken by the Treasurer is to develop a good accounting system.
This fact sheet, produced by Supporting Communities with the assistance of Ulster Bank, helps to explain the benefits of maintaining records and book-keeping. The ideal book-keeping system should be simple enough to allow you to keep records up to date with minimum effort while providing the necessary information to run and control the organisation.
Securing Support from Local Businesses
Have you thought about the funding opportunities right on your doorstep? Local businesses could provide that valuable piece of equipment, prizes for raffles, free advice, sponsorship, and a host of other things - often without a lengthy form filling exercise! Businesses that operate locally support groups by providing things like gifts in kind, small cash donations, and a number of services either free or at a reduced rate. This factsheet explains the various ways the business community may be prepared to help.
Social media changes so fast, it can be hard to keep up with – or know where to start! Small charities and voluntary groups can still make very effective use of social media channels to help further their goals, the trick is to not get overwhelmed or try to do too much too fast.
This guide will help you think through the steps needed to form a basic social media strategy that will work for your group.
Understanding Your Constitution
When a group of people or a community take the decision to form a community or residents association, a constitution, incorporating the aims, objectives and normal rules of the association is agreed/adopted. The adoption of a constitution confers legal status on the association and identifies the beneficiaries of the association’s activities and to whom the association is responsible and accountable. It is worth noting that a constitution is an essential pre-requisite for applying for funding.
See below for a sample Draft Constitution and Deed of Trust.
Use this sample draft constitution in conjunction with the factsheet above on Understanding Your Constitution.
Sample Deed of Trust
A Deed of Trust is a legally-binding document that records the financial arrangements between joint owners of a property, and/or anyone else who a financial interest in the property. You make this agreement at the time of buying the property.
This is some sample text illustrating how a Deed of Trust is set up.