Start your own community project

Developing Project Ideas

You’ve had a great idea that will help your community, and you are looking at getting it off the ground, so what should you do?!

Hopefully this guide will be able to help.

The first suggestion would be to do the research on your community. Gather the data, find the statistics. Make sure that your idea is needed at that time and will be used or attended. For example, there’s no need to start a village youth group when your village doesn’t have that demographic at that time.

This form of early planning can help you to:

  • Build a clearer picture of your community and the needs
  • Highlight the scale any recognised issue/s (Greater or Lower than you expected)
  • Identify any issues you may need to consider in more depth

If there is a need, is someone else already doing it? If there was something similar, but it no longer exists, try to find out why?

And don’t overlook how much benefit having proof of these areas can be when it comes to looking or applying for funding.

A couple of starting points you could use are;

Office for National Statistics

East Sussex in Figures

When you’re out looking for the challenges don’t forget to look for the opportunities. Find the people who could help in some way, people often have hidden skills that when you look for them then you realise would make an astronomical difference to your project or idea.

Once you’ve got your data get people together; in a pub, café, or someone’s house, people that could become your committee, workers, or volunteers.

Take the time to get to know each other, discover what each person can bring to the table. Find their motivation, skills, knowledge, interests, time availability. Try not to presume if someone does something for a job that they’ll also be happy to do the same thing for the project.

If you need specialised skills try to make the role as simple as you can, if you have someone doing your accounts then they don’t necessarily need to also be at events, collecting donations, or being directly involved in anything not to do with money.

When you’re holding a meeting try to find the meeting style that suits everyone, some people like the formal meetings with a Chair and a Secretary taking the minutes. But others find it far more productive to meet in a more open way, feeling there’s more of a collaborative energy.

Try not to let anyone become overburdened with what they are asked to do, switch roles if it’s needed and find the right balance for your team.

If the people you have brought together are ready to get going it’s time to start getting in to some of the details.

 What id the purpose going to be in and go in depth. It’s easy to simply thinking you want to just help young people, think about the specific, who, how, why, what outcomes would you like to see, where the work will take place?!

Then decide on the project name if you haven’t already 

 

Now you know  the what’s and you’re confident you know what needs to happen, start looking at what the structure of your organisation should be.

You don’t always need a formal structure, but if you are looking to grow or build long-term sustainability you may want to look at becoming legally constituted. This will help to give you more structure and security as a group, but don’t overlook the fact that if you want to receive grant funding this is a minimum requirement for the majority of funders.

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