Starting Up

If you're interested in using your skills, passion or an idea to bring people together and meet a need in our community, then MVA can help you.

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street

Starting Up

Thinking about starting a new organisation to help address a local issue that you care about?

If you're interested in using your skills, passion or an idea to bring people together and meet a need in our community, then MVA can help you. On this page you'll find step by step advice and resources to get you started:

Step 1:

First of all, we suggest that you use our online directory to find out if there's already a group in Medway doing the same or something very similar with which you can link. Try getting in touch with them (you'll find contact details on the directory) to talk through your ideas - they might want to get involved with your idea or simply might have some useful advice and information to share.

Step 2:

Undertake some simple planning sessions. These don't need to be detailed documents or lengthy meetings with interested parties - just take some time to consider some key questions such as:

- What you are aiming to achieve;

- Who are you aiming to support / how will they benefit from the support you offer;

- How will you and/or the new group/organisation achieve your aims;

- What resources and skills will you realistically need to get started (and what resources will also be needed in the short to medium term); and

- What geographical/needs area the group will cover.

These type of questions are important, and worth taking time to think through fully, as you are likely to be asked about these considerations when asking for support for your idea (from funders, volunteers, other local organisations etc.).

You may, at some point, decide it would be helpful to document your thoughts and ideas into a more formal document - in which case, the NCVO's How to write a business plan for your charity might be useful to you.

Step 3:

If you are thinking about running a community activity rather than setting up a new organisation, here are some useful, free resources to help you plan your next steps:

Community Starter toolkit

Charity Commission guide to writing articles of association

Step 4:

If you're thinking about setting up a new organisation to achieve your community goals, here are a wide range of free, online resources that you can use to help you plan how to do this:

Locality's toolkit to help community organisations choose a legal structure

Know How Non Profit pages about setting up a charity guidance - setting up a charity: model governing documents

Grant Finder Starting a Voluntary Group

Determining the right legal structure for your social enterprise

Information from the Resource Centre about starting a group

Step 5:

What skills, training or qualifications do you need to ensure the success of your new organisation / community activity? You should have already given this some thought during your planning session (Step 2); the skills or qualifications you will need are likely to be specific to the activities and support you are planning for your community.

You will find below some useful tips to help with the process of identifying and planning the training you might need.

These are also some statutory requirements that you might need to consider:

  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • Lone Working
  • Health and Safety
  • Fire Safety
  • Food Safety

You might find it useful to undertake an audit of the skills and experience you already hold (personally, and including other people helping you to make your idea a reality e.g. trustees, volunteers, partners). Know How's skills audit tool provides a useful checklist for you to do this, identifying your strengths and gaps in knowledge/skills.

Once you've completed your skills audit, you will need to identify any further training you might need to undertake, this might include topics such as managing volunteers, trust and bid writing skills or outcome reporting skills. You can source training from a variety of providers - MVA also delivers a range of training (from which the income generated is used to continue supporting the VCS in Medway) which can be viewed by clicking here. MVA also offer some FREE training to help smaller and start-up charities get started, and you can view these by clicking here.

Step 6:

Think about how you could connect with others and secure any additional support you might need. To help you do this, take a look at MVA's website where you will find further information about:

Volunteer Recruitment and Support - Medway Volunteer Network (MVN) provides a range of advice and information to help local organisations to recruit and support volunteers

Medway's VCS Leaders Network - a support network designed to provide members with their own platform for debate, sharing of good practice, collaborative working, effective networking and peer support.

MVA Membership - This is free to Medway voluntary/community groups and organisations and provides representation and support across a range of areas.

Step 7:

When you've reached this point, if you need some further support and advice then MVA are happy to help you. We can currently offer Medway community members who are seeking to start up their own group/organisation a one-hour support session (that is free of charge for MVA Members) - either by phone, Skype or face to face. If you would like to book a support session with MVA please contact us (to help you get the most from the support session, we do ask that you have completed steps 1 to 6 prior to the meeting date).


Remember, you're not alone. You're part of an amazing group of people who have taken their ideas to help their communities and made them a reality. You can read about some of those people by taking a look at some of their stories on our outcomes page.