Over the last eight years we have helped establish a great number of new community groups associated with protecting, conserving and enhacing the environment, ranging from friends of parks groups to more formal environmental groups/charities with legal structures. Based on our experience, as well as being able to draw upon experience across the charitable sector, we can help and support you to develop your ideas.

If you are looking to organise smaller, more straightforward community activities, a useful tool kit has been developed by our insurers and we can help alongside this.

We have developed some guidance to help set up a "Friends of" parks and green space groups, see "Friends of" groups. Most Councils, including the London Borough of Richmond, will only recognise friends groups if they are constituted and have an open voting process to elect officers to their committees. This is to ensure that any group is open and representative, and it is also considered good practice for groups to have these in place.

We can help you with all aspects of establishing a group; getting people together, governing documents/constitutions, working with and linking with the the Council, raising funds, buying tools, getting insurance, develop policies and procedures etc. 

An unincorporated voluntary association or a not for profit company can apply for charitable status, but this must be approved by the Charity Commission. For models for charities, see the Charity Commission website. For charities that will have an annual turnover of less than £5000, see Charity Commission, less than £5,000

For several publications explaining how to set up groups, published by TCV (formerly BTCV) and other bodies, visit SWLEN's library.


What we can help your group with:

    1. A telephone and email advice service and support service
    2. Provide template constitutions and policies
    3. Offer access to our discount insurance scheme
    4. Provide a webpage on our site
    5. Provide a forwarding email address; avoiding the need to use personal email addresses on publicity materials
    6. Provide a geographical address (our office) should you need one
    7. Network your group with similar groups in the area to share ideas and good practices
    8. Receive our monthly e-newsletters providing news, information on good practices, available funding etc
    9. Signpost specialist support services (such as legal advice)
    10. Promote your group and any events you undertake through our website and social media sites/platforms
    11. Help to find and secure funding
    12. Provide help with financial planning
    13. We can run an organisational/group health check and help you develop areas if needed
    14. Borrow items  for free from our library (laptop, projector, display screens and marquee)


Above all, our best advice is for you to give us a call or email. We are also very happy to come and meet with you and hear your ideas.