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Do you have an interest or a hobby that is not catered for in your local area?

Perhaps you love to paint, read, craft or debate and are looking for a like-minded group of people to share your interest?

Starting your own club may attract the enthusiasts you are looking for and provide a friendship base that will last for years to come.

Planning for a New Club

Creating a successful club or social group starts with laying the correct foundations. Planning is a crucial first step to get your organisation off to the best possible start.

Structuring a New Club

Once you’ve determined the new club is viable, it’s time to decide whether it needs a formal structure with a committee, bank account and constitution or whether it can be run on an informal basis. The deciding factor is likely to be whether or not the group will need to pay to hire a room, bring in outside speakers or buy equipment.

If the club needs money then it will need a treasurer and a bank account and other committee members and a constitution to ensure that everything is run properly. If the club can be run informally in a space with no charge then it may be enough to simply have a couple of people willing to take charge of arranging dates and acting as a central point of contact.

An example of the first type of club is an art group taking place in a church hall and providing easels for members to use and occasionally booking outside tutors, models and exhibition space. An example of the second type of club is a small group meeting in each other’s homes or cafes to discuss the books they have read.

In either case, care must be taken to ensure that members’ contact details are securely stored according to GDPR legislation.

Marketing and Publicising a New Club

Once the new club is up and running, with a founder membership from those that attended the initial meeting, it’s time to attract more members and get the group buzzing. Effective publicity requires a several-pronged approach:

Financial Support for Clubs

If money is necessary to start and run your club it may be possible to apply for financial help in the form of grants or sponsorship.

This is particularly true if you can show a tangible benefit to the community or to the club’s members from your activities – for example, will the club reduce social isolation, improve mental health or care for the environment? Sources to investigate are your local Rotary club, the National Lottery, or community charities local to your area.

If financial support isn’t available for your club’s activities, try negotiating a discount with a local retailer. For example, an art supplies shop might offer your art club members a discount or the book shop might offer you a discount (and perhaps a place to meet) if you regularly order twelve copies of a book.

Create an Online Club

The Covid epidemic highlighted the benefits of online tools for socialising but even without a pandemic, there are good reasons to continue with this method of meeting people.

Perhaps leaving the house is difficult because you are a carer or have mobility problems. Perhaps your interest is too specialist to generate enough interest locally and you want to draw from a bigger pool of people. Or perhaps you enjoy the stimulation of mixing with people from outside your local catchment area.

If an online club sounds attractive, we at Mirthy would love to hear your ideas and help you to organise something. We are always looking to expand our community events. Contact us via hello@mirthy.co.uk.

If the club or social group you’d love to belong to doesn’t yet exist, create it! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.


Author: Sally Jenkins - a freelance writer and past vice-president of Sutton Coldfield Speakers’ Club.

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