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How to set up a Friends Group

Devonport Park - Credit Iain Salde

Setting up a Friends Group for your local park can seem daunting but it doesnt have to be.

We have produced a useful guide for anyone looking to start a friends group. It has a step by step guide and useful examples for you to follow, this can be found below

Starting a Friends Group

Does my park already have a group? 

It is worth finding out if there are any groups operating in your local park or area already. Have a chat with people in your park or local area, ask them if they know about any volunteer groups operating in the area. 

Visit the Useful Contacts page to find out if one already exists in your local area

Groups meet regularly and are always eager for new members to attend, so if there is already one in your area, get in touch and go along to the next meeting to find out more. Meeting dates are usually published on the relevant park pages on this website – find your park here 

How to start a group for my park?

If there aren’t any existing groups operating in your local park or greenspace you may wish to set up a new group. This may sound daunting and a huge task but we have provided lots of information to help guide you on doing just that.

Setting up a Friends of Group takes four stages, which are detailed in the Toolkit below. 

  • Stage 1: Meeting like-minded people
  • Stage 2: Sharing ideas
  • Stage 3: Setting up your groups’ constitution and ways of working
  • Stage 4: Electing your group committee

The following toolkit explains everything you need to know when initially setting up a friends group and has example templates on certain documents you will need to have.


The Conservation Volunteering Network also provides some great resources and information for community groups and provides a network for your group to be a part of. 



Funding your Friends of Parks group

All groups will need money to cover the day to day things, like meeting room hire, gloves, postage, tea and coffee. Many groups fundraise throughout the year to pay for these things, inclusing running community events, cake sales, support from local Councillors. 

Some groups ask their members for an annual membership fee to cover their basic costs. The level of membership is decided by the group at their AGM (Annual General Meeting).

The group treasurer will keep records of any spending and income, and once a group has decided to go ahead with a bigger project, this is even more important as all grant giving bodies want to see records, that their money has been spent correctly.

You may also require funding to support some of the activities you are planning to carry out. There are several ways you can raise funds, including:

  • Fundraising events
  • Sponsorship from local businesses
  • Collecting donations
  • Apply for funding from external funders

You can find information on applying for funding in the startup toolkit.

There are some start-up grants available for community groups that can be accessed. The Chestnut Fund, a registered charity, provides start-up finanical support for community groups and these grants are administered by TCV.

A number of different funding grants can be found in the toolkit in the starting a friends group section above.

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