Parks user groups

 

There are 24 active park user groups in Hackney. They contribute greatly to the life of parks and green spaces in Hackney through the voluntary activity of people who feel strongly about the care and improvement of Hackney's green spaces.

If you're interested in joining a user group for one of your local parks use the links below or contact the Hackney parks forum.

Hackney parks forum

Hackney parks forum is a voluntary body whose members are made up of park user groups and other environmentally based groups. It helps people set up user groups and represents them by working with the Council in the preservation, conservation, maintenance and development of parks for the benefit of the whole community. Minutes of meetings are circulated to all user groups and are also available from hackneyparksforum@googlemail.com.

Setting up a parks user group

If you're setting up a user group, you'll need to read and sign up to our user group protocol [pdf, 43.45Kb] . If you'd like help, email parks@hackney.gov.uk or the Hackney Parks Forum at the address above.   

1. Find interested people

This can sometimes seem like the most daunting stage of the process, but try not to panic. Most groups advertise an informal gathering where interested people can find out what the group aims to do. Try to generate as much interest in your group as possible.

Hackney Parks Forum may be able to provide contacts in the community who would like to become involved with your group. You'll usually find that there are other people in the area who have an opinion on their local park or open space.

2. Hold an annual general meeting (AGM)

Once you've found a number of interested people, you'll need to get them together as a formal group. Contact us if you need help booking a room. At this meeting, you'll need to write a constitution and elect a committee. For more information, see holding an AGM [pdf, 18.91Kb] .

3. Write a constitution

A constitution explains how your group will be managed, from the aims and objectives of the group through to how meetings are to be run. The constitution of your group doesn't have to be complicated but it should reflect how you wish your group to be managed.

You don't need to start from scratch when deciding on a constitution - you can use parts of other groups'. When your group has a constitution you wish to adopt, you must formally adopt it at the AGM, and your committee must sign it.

4. Elect a committee

Your group's committee will help your members with the day to day running of the group. The committee should consist of a chairperson, secretary and treasurer but can also include other members. The other members of the committee don't have to have specific roles, however some groups have chosen to elect 'vice' positions, such as vice chairperson, vice treasurer and vice secretary.

Anyone can elect another member to a position; however it must be decided by vote who takes a position. It's possible for individuals to act as chairperson and secretary whilst organising the first AGM, but they must give up their position when the committee are to be elected.

  • the chair should facilitate meetings and help keep the group focused
  • the secretary takes care of the group's correspondence, creates agendas for meetings, takes minutes and makes sure that all members of the group are kept informed and involved
  • the treasurer keeps up to date accounts of the group's financial affairs - opening the group's bank account, paying bills, keeping accurate books and managing petty cash

You might wish to create other roles in the group - publicity officer or fundraising officer, for example.

5. Set up a bank account

You'll need a bank account to manage any money that the group generates through fundraising, and to pay for things like stationery and room bookings. You should set up the account in the name of the group, with at least two signatories. The signatories must be members of the committee, usually the chairperson and the treasurer. Some groups have chosen to have three signatories on the account, allowing a member of the committee to sign if another is unavailable.

The next step

Once your group is fully constituted with a committee and bank account, you can start working towards yours group's aims and objectives.

Although the formalities involved in setting up a friends group may seem excessive, they are important. If you wish to apply for funding for your park, awarding bodies will want to see evidence that your group is democratically elected, with a defined structure and constitution.

Green space funding opportunities

A number of grant bodies are keen to fund user groups and community organisations who are working on wildlife or green space projects. Find out more about green space funding.

Other local organisations

Page updated: 16/11/2016 11:33:03

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