Advice on organising a community litter pick
Netmums on how to do a summer fete – games, themes and cupcakes!
Or hold a street party – there’s a website dedicated to useful advice.
On a more practical note, could your area support any small businesses working from home? This Guardian article dates from 2010 – note the misplaced optimism! – but the list of fifty suggestions is worth perusing.
For the more ambitious, how about starting a manufacturing business? Maybe recycling local bottles into quality glass items?
Or what about a renewable energy system owned by a local collective providing all the members with both free electricity and a substantial share dividend every year generated by profit on sales to the National Grid?
For large projects, you will need to be aware of the administrative structures around because you will probably need planning consent, funding and a recognised group. An individual can only do so much for their community on their own. Even if the idea is to benefit the area by starting a for-profit business involving few people in decisions, it would be best to form a limited company.
The resource Plan LoCaL produced by the Centre for Sustainable Energy describes the process of engaging communities in large renewable energy projects, with advice about legal structures, business plans and funding. Much of the information is also useful for smaller plans and different endeavours – and seeing what others have achieved may inspire your group to be more ambitious!
Companies House is where you register a limited company or Community Interest Company. It also makes company accounts available for a fee and keeps a list of disqualified directors if you feel suspicious about an offer too good to be true!
The Health and Safety Executive provides information around legislation in the UK, including this useful advice:-
“So, from 1 October 2015, if you are self-employed and your work activity poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public, then health and safety law will not apply to you.
We estimate that health and safety law will no longer apply to 1.7 million self-employed people like novelists, journalists, graphic designers, accountants, , financial advisors and dress-makers, where their work does not pose a risk to the health and safety of others”
HM Revenue and Customs – news and information on tax and insurance matters in the UK, including VAT. Certain products and services are outside VAT, and you need a minimum annual turnover higher than most small projects to be liable for VAT
The Information Commissioner is an independent official appointed by the Crown to oversee the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Considering an Industrial and Provident society for your project structure? This site gives a lot of technical information about this, and other forms of organisation.
A charity? The Charities Commission is the place to start. Remember you don’t need to register if your annual income (before expenses) is less than £5000.
NAVCA (National Association for Voluntary and Community Action) is a charity that champions and strengthens voluntary and community action by supporting their members – they work with over 160,000 local charities and community groups. Download their template constitution for a very small charity which does not own land or employ staff.
Articles of Association are the rules for running your company. They deal with general meetings, appointment of directors, issue and transfer of shares, dividends, accounts and audit. A small company may not require shares, dividends or audits, but still needs articles.
Find out more about being a company director here
Maybe you should look at being a Trustee instead?
The Unity Trust Bank is one which specialises in providing banking services to charities and trade unions.
Some basic information about agendas for meetings.
An index of umbrella bodies in Britain which support community groups and volunteers. These are useful if your group needs advice, DBS (Disclosure and Barring) checks, insurances and other challenging items.
Department of Education and Skills – information and advice on how to achieve your potential through learning
The Disability Rights Commission is an independent body established to stop discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people.
Princes Trust – details about getting involved in the scheme which helps 14-30 year olds improve skills, confidence and ambition
Find out about your nearest community foundation
Find up to date news for workers in the voluntary sector, serious cutting edge articles and possibility of jobs at this Guardian link
Fun, local events, child friendly places, parenting gossip and advice, adverts and newsletter on Netmums, an online parenting website with over 1 million members. You can publicise your own events and even arrange to meet up with people.
Or check out Mumsnet the original concept. Both have forums where you may find useful information on issues affecting you.
There’s a National Allotment Society dedicated to support allotmenteers across Britain – patron HRH the Prince of Wales no less!
The National Association of Choirs promotes choral music across the UK
Find out more about the world of amateur dramatics
Join an online forum to help with health issues, such as giving up smoking
There are groups online for nearly everything you might be interested in. Try and find ones that meet up in your area.
Volunteer with a national organisation like the Red Cross
Being involved keeps you alive!
Recycle an old hardcover diary as a colourful journal of adventures – check out this Art Journal for inspiration!
Tips for an excellent picnic!
Official advice on street parties
Fun and fundraising at the summer fete – ideas for games and stalls
More information about fundraising, with practical tips
No useful internet forum serving your area? Start your own!
Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive!