Getting started

Voluntary groups often remain as small informal sessions, meeting regularly, but with no set plan or objective other than as a place for like-minded people to get together from time to time.

Many decide to take a next step and become more formal.

In this day and age that means having in place a number of basic policy documents – a basic constitution to formally organise the group being most obvious. If a group decides to apply for public funding, or from some funding-bodies, there is often a range of policy documents requested. The biggest challenge for a group of volunteers is knowing where to start.

There are useful guides to policy and procedures available online from a variety of sources. Sport England “Club Matters” is a good place to find ideas around a sports club, adaptable for any group or project, starting with a basic constitution.

On safeguarding issues there is useful guidance by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) with regional equivalents for Scotland  and Northern Ireland.

The Health & Safety Executive provides excellent guidance and a range of useful resources on Health and Safety.

There are lots more out there. Search for a policy such as Harassment Policy and there is Government guidance available – LetMeGoogleThatForYou:

To help voluntary sector groups gauge what might be needed, Dreamstore has brought together a range of policy templates, in alphabetical rather than in any order of priority. The templates are found under our Voluntary Services dropdown menu.

These may or may not be relevant to your group, and independent advice should always be sought to make sure a policy document or statement is the right one to meet the specifics of your project or group’s needs.

There are also some sample forms that might help in following some of the policies, again depending on your requirements and always based on independent advice.

For activities, particularly recreational activities, other useful templates may be found via the Dreamstore Academy Leadership and Coaching Resources page.