Starting up

Starting up a new community group is an exciting undertaking and not one to be taken lightly. There are many reasons why people wish to start up their own organisation: to fulfil a need in the community that is not being met; to develop a project that has started informally or to develop a new venture or business idea in the charitable sector.

Before you decide to set up a new organisation make sure you do your research. Here are some key questions to consider:

  • Have you identified a clear need?

  • Do you have a clear purpose and vision for what your organisation will do?

  • Is another organisation already working in that area?

  • Could you volunteer or apply to work at an organisation already doing the work?

  • Could you partner with an organisation already doing the work and/or become a project of an already established organisation?

  • Do you want to be paid?

  • Have you identified people who can be trustees?

  • Do you have family members who will want to be involved?

If you need support with starting up an organisation contact us. We can:

  • Offer one to one support and advice, signposting you to useful resources

  • Offer information and guidance on deciding an appropriate legal structure, choosing a governing document and recruiting trustees

  • Support with collaboration and partnering with organisations already working in the area

Contact development@communitysouthwark.org for more information

Community Southwark Useful Resources

Community Southwark Resources - Governance & Leadership: fact sheets and resources to ensure good governance & leadership from the very beginning.

Community Southwark Resources - Information about Southwark: Information and resources tohelp you do your research before starting up a new organisation.

Community Southwark Resources - Planning your future needs: fact sheets and resources to help you get on with strategic planning, business planning and much more.

Community Southwark Resources - Social Enterprise: Fact sheets and resources looking at social enterprise and the questions to ask when starting an organisation

Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs): this provides an introduction to the CIO form with useful links for more information.

Charities & Trusts: a brief overview of charities and trusts with further resources to help you decide on a suitable legal form.

Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs): a brief overview of the Community SouthwarkC scheme, pros and cons and further reading.

Community Interest Companies (CIC): this provides an introduction to the CIC form, pros and cons, and why it is suitable for social enterprise activity.

Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG): this provides an introduction to the CG form, pros and cons, and why it is suitable for social enterprise and or charitable activity.

Getting Started Guide: provides an introduction to key things to consider when starting a new community group or voluntary sector organisation

Getting Started Jargon Buster: a quick overview of some of the languarge you will come across in the sector and whilst setting up your organisation.

Legal Forms Decision Tool: based on the Get Legal decisio tool, this is a quick quiz to start you off on your decision making journey.

Legal Forms of Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations Visual Chart: a visual chart summarising the main legal forms used in the VCS

Registered Society (Industrial and Provident Society) Co-operative and Community Benefit Society: an introduction to IPS and the two main forms these take - Co-operatives and Community Benefit Societies (Bencoms).

Starting up - initial assessment: 10 key questions to ask yourself before setting up a new organisation.

Unincorporated Association: an introduction to the key points of this legal structure, the pros and cons and further resources.

External Resources

Charity Commission Website - lots of useful information and guidance for starting up community groups, Charities, and CIOs including guidance on governing documents and the role of trustees.

CIC Regulator - this site provides useful guidance and templates for those considering starting up a community Interest company

Companies House - information and guidance for companies.