Guidance

Welcome

Thank you for volunteering to run a group or activity for LALG, without your support we could not continue.  Guidance is available to support the running of groups and other LALG activities. We hope this will be useful to you.  If you have ideas how to improve it, please contact Elaine Fox: dpo@lalg.org.uk.

The guidance topics are grouped into the categories shown on the left-hand side of this display.  This one is for general guidance. It is viewed by clicking one of the titles below and it will expand to show the guidance. The other titles will then be above or beneath the expanded one as you move down the list. Please start with this one if you are new to using the guidance.

LALG holds your data securely and only uses it to let you know about LALG activities or give you information.  The principles of the LALG privacy policy apply to group contacts.

Support Team exists and its members are available to give help to all those running groups and organising activities.

Setting up a new group

The Support team are responsible for encouraging the growth of new groups. They may be able to attend and even run your first few meetings. The following checklist contains items to consider when launching a new group.

  • Use the website, social media and the newsletter to invite anyone who is interested to leave their contact details at David’s Bookshop.  Provide an email or telephone number for William /prospective group contact as an alternative.
  • Decide who will run the group after the setting up period. You need a Group Contact to act as at least an information point. It might help to note down the key elements of the role.        
  • Consider how many members are needed to make the group viable. This will vary.
  • Ask prospective members how often they’d like to meet, and daytime, evening or weekend? Try to avoid overlap with other similar groups unless they are already full.
  • Identify a potential venue and check availability. See Finding a Venue for some ideas.
  • Work out costs and a charge per meeting. The group will need to be self-financing and the constitution prohibits an extra subscription charge by groups.
  • Ask leaders of similar groups for advice.
  • Make sure you understand and apply data protection rules.
  • Draft a programme for the first few meetings. 
  • After the first couple of meetings, ensure that all participants are paid up members of LALG.
  • Consider having a dedicated bank account if significant monies are changing hand on a regular basis. See All Finance Guidance.
  • Consider having a new email account for the group contact – particularly if there needs to be more than one person managing the group via email or your personal email is joint with someone else.  A group email address reduces the risk of your personal account being hacked.

 

Support Team

Thank you for volunteering to run a group or activity for LALG, without your support we could not continue. All LALG groups are supported by the following team:

William Armitage 01462 643537

George Barnes 01462 673710

Ronnie McInerney Gilbert 07809 100647

Steve Green 07710 542803

Astrid Hansen 01462 337991

Val Quieros 07787 512580

They are available to give help and advice to all those running groups and organising activities. 

Please contact any of the team if you need to, or email groupsupport@lalg.org.uk 

Running successful group activities

Most people come to groups to enjoy a specific activity in the company of friends. The Group shares responsibility for making meetings successful. Successful groups:

  • Welcome new members; perhaps accompanying them or assigning a ‘buddy’ informally or rotating them amongst established members so no one feels an outsider.
  • Cherish existing members, for example sending a message when someone is away ill.
  • Plan ahead so that each meeting is well organised and participants know what’s happening.
  • Notice if membership is falling and act to attract more participants.
  • Notice if any ongoing arrangements need to be improved.
  • Ensure that the group remains financially robust.
  • Share the workload and responsibilities among the group, having people to bounce ideas off makes it more inclusive and fun and meets them within reason.
  • Make sure they comply with the LALG Equality Policy
  • Comply with the LALG Privacy Policy
  • Understand potential Safeguarding issues.
  • Read the LALG Guidance on Accessibility for members with a disability [add link when approved]

Further information on chairing a meeting

Finding a suitable venue

  • Once you have established the size of your group and whether specialist equipment is needed you can start to search for suitable place.
  • Look at the monthly newsletter which will show where similar groups are meeting.
  • Local council websites give details of halls available to hire; including in North Hertfordshire the Mrs Howard Memorial Hall and Jackson Community Halls in Letchworth.
  • A comprehensive list of venues in Letchworth   (This website is currently being revised)
  • Information on The Settlement
  • Information on Fairfield Community Hall
  • For other areas try a google search!

Disaster-proofing your group

Don’t wait for an emergency. Make use of the Support Team. The LALG committee has systems in place so that LALG can continue to run smoothly through ups and downs. Groups can make similar plans. Here are some ideas:

  • Make sure that there are at least two people who know how to run the group.
  • Keep a written record of key information that would be needed if the main organiser was unavailable.
  • Consider appointing a deputy who can take over as group contact if needed.
  • Have one or two alternative venues in mind, in case of need.
  • Keep a small amount of funds available to see you through temporary leaner times.
  • Watch the group membership and consider emailing people you haven’t seen for a while.

Rescuing a Failing Group

Support is available to groups that are struggling to attract or retain members. As soon as you suspect a problem contact a member of the Support Team. They can help by offering any of the following:

  • Temporary group leader
  • Publicity boost
  • Financial support
  • Practical help and advice.

Money held by a Group must be donated to central LALG funds if the Group closes.

Information Security

Organisations are obliged to hold information securely.  Details of the General Data Protection Requirements to which LALG must adhere can be found at All Privacy Guidance. As far as LALG is concerned this applies to all its members who organise its groups or other events and activities.

Technical security:

  • Make sure you have up to date virus protection on your computer.
  • Ensure any networks you use (whether at home or in public places) are secured.
  • Beware of hoax emails that try to obtain your log in credentials or personal details.
  • Use strong passwords and don’t write them down or share them with anyone else.
  • Lock the screen on your computer, laptop or other device when you are not using them.
  • Don’t store confidential information on an unencrypted device or in a folder you share with others.

Physical security:

  • Make sure your home or office are secure (e.g. door and window locks).
  • Don’t leave papers, laptops or other devices visible in your car – lock them in the boot.
  • Use a secure form of waste disposal for papers e.g. a shredder.
  • Don’t lose your laptop or memory stick!  And make sure they are password protected.

Other risks to be aware of:

  • Being overheard/overlooked in public places or when travelling.
  • Family members sharing your computer, laptop, tablet or other device should not be able to access personal information about members.
  • To avoid passing unwanted bugs and viruses between the computers and mobile devices of your group members please make sure you have up to date virus protection enabled. This may already be loaded on your device but you should check this out. Let members of your group know if you think you have been hacked or your online security otherwise compromised, using another method to contact them.

Insurance

LALG holds insurance which includes cover for people on group activities if the group contact has thought about the risks involved and done their best to manage them.

For many groups risks will be minimal but we have provided safety checklists for some which carry more risk such as cycling, walking and trips using various means of transport. More information is available at All Safety Guidance.

Accessibility

LALG’s Equality policy states: “LALG will make every effort to use venues that are accessible to all and will respond positively to any requests for improving access.”

Group contacts and others who organise LALG events should do all they reasonably can to make activities and events accessible to members with a disability. A disability could mean that someone will need to use a wheelchair or other walking aid, not be able to walk very far or cope with steps or stairs, or have sight or hearing problems. We also recognise that not every disability is visible or obvious.

Group contacts and event organisers should reassure any member with a disability attending an activity or event that they will support them and make their attendance as easy and stress-free as possible. Members who cannot manage without help should be given the opportunity to bring a companion/carer with them. If a member of a household has a non-resident carer due to age, disability or a medical condition and needs the carer to accompany them to LALG activities and events, then their membership will also cover the carer.

LALG’s activity groups and events take place in a number of different venues, depending on their nature.

Public venues (e.g. The Settlement, a Coffee bar) should already comply with legal requirements to provide disabled access but some will be more suitable than others depending on a particular disability.

The following are some factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing a public venue:

  • Served by public transport.
  • Adequate car parking facilities onsite or very close at hand including disabled parking bays.
  • Ramp for building access.
  • Ground floor accommodation where possible. If you are considering upper floor accommodation because there is a lift, you must ensure that onsite help can be provided with evacuation in the event of a fire.
  • Accessible and usable disabled toilet facilities.
  • Good disabled access.
  • A sound system and loop.
  • Spacious enough to cope with wheelchairs/mobility scooters.
  • Good lighting.
  • Access to heating/air conditioning controls.

Other considerations that would help:

  • Providing a map, directions and details about a venue to new members.
  • Having a designated person who is easily identifiable, to ensure members with a disability are provided with appropriate seating e.g. at the front for those who have vision or hearing loss and at the end of a row for those with mobility problems.
  • Timing and length of meetings – remember to factor in a break.

Assessing Potential Problems with Events

It is a requirement of LALG insurance that the organiser of any event has thought about potential problems and planned for them.

This checklist identifies some problems that may occur and how to deal with them. There may be additional ones for specific events.

Hazard

Who might be harmed and how

Actions to take in advance

If it happens

Accommodation/ facilities/key personnel

Venue becomes unavailable

All

Pay deposit on time

Check a few days before event that all is in order

Find alternative venue

Or cancel the event and:

Post notice on hall door

Contact LALG publicity to tell people via website and social media

Tell TIC if they have sold tickets

If you have contact email/phone for attendees send them a message

Key facilities at venue are unavailable

All

Check a few days in advance that all is in order

Organise alternative provision

Or cancel the event - as above

Speaker/band/quiz master etc becomes unavailable

All

Check a few days in advance that all is in order

 

Find an alternative

Or cancel the event - as above

Incident at accommodation eg fire alarm

All

Check premises evacuation procedures and know where meeting point is

Have emergency contact number for venue manager

Tell participants what to do in case of emergency

Ensure venue is safely evacuated

Call Emergency Services if needed

Inform venue manager

Unusual or extreme weather conditions

All

Consider taking event cancellation insurance

Monitor weather forecast

Agree with team when decision to cancel/go ahead should be taken

Organiser to obtain everyone’s mobile phone number or email

Make timely decision to go ahead or cancel – as above

Injury and illness

 

 

Attendees are responsible for their own personal insurance – as notified on website/newsletter

 

Minor injuries (eg cuts, bruises, stings)

Individual

None

Offer first aid kit and find quiet place for injury to be treated in consultation with person or their companion

Consider making incident report to Secretary of LALG

Trips and sprains

Individual

Check before event starts that there are no trip hazards

Point out any uneven floors, taped wires, steps etc to participants

Serious injury/illness needing ambulance/

accident

Individual

None

Dial 999 and call emergency services

Make incident report to Secretary of LALG

Damage to property or environment

 

Individual

LALG has third party insurance but individuals are responsible for their own insurance

Organiser to claim on LALG insurance, as appropriate

Complete incident report form

People at risk

 

Individual/  organiser

Understand the requirements when running events including children/young people/adults at risk

Notify LALG committee safeguarding officer and complete incident report form

Budget

Event loses money

Organiser

Budget for realistic number of people

Have cancellation policy

Consider cancellation insurance

Understand commitments to venue and speakers etc

Cancel event if insufficient people

Trip makes money

All

Budget for realistic number of people

Surplus to be returned to LALG or to the group organising the event

Equality

Letchworth Arts and Leisure Group (LALG) is open to all. We aim to provide our Members, volunteers, supporters and suppliers with equal respect, regardless of any personal characteristics, including: age, disability, gender, marital status or pregnancy, race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin), religion or belief, sexual orientation, class or socio-economic status. The Equality policy can be viewed here

Rules on being a member

  • All participants should be members of LALG. You could consider asking to see their membership cards once a year.
  • New participants can come a couple of times before deciding whether to join.
  • Members accept personal responsibility for their own insurance.
  • The membership fee entitles every adult living in the household to participate in all LALG activities providing a group is not full although a fee may be payable for some activities; this will be made clear in the LALG Newsletter.
  • Carers are able to come to events free of charge when they are supporting an LALG member.
  • In case of doubt you can ask the Membership secretary to check that people attending your group are LALG members by sending her a list of names and addresses.

See also the LALG Constitution

 

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