Starting up a new Group

We’re very keen to support you if you’ve made the first decision to start up a new Neighbourhood Watch Group.

There’s a number of things to consider and various steps to go through. But the NEL Neighbourhood Watch Network is here to support your new journey.

There is a general booklet here explaining all the steps required to start up a new NWG.  Have a read and see what you need to do. (The document is still valid but is quite old now. A new version is in production.)

If you need support, advice or a chat please contact Karl Elliott at VANEL on 01472 515 525 (contact info here).

A few issues to get you started.

Is there a need?

If you and other residents now feel there is a need for a group – either to take control of  crime or anti social behaviour issues – or even just  to make the community stronger we can help you .

You will need to ask everyone on your street  for their views ( copies of the consultation document can be found below ) .  In any area different people have different lives and different needs and different ways of contributing time or showing involvement….as a typical example – having a street of 100 households (80 houses and 20 flats)  – perhaps with 35% young families, 45% full time working of which 20% do shift work, and 12% elderly resident there may be 75% who are interested and want to receive newsletters and agree to try to do their bit (keep eyes and ears open and actually make the call to 101 when its needed rather than waiting for someone else to do it) but, only two people who want to take on specific jobs and only three who can deliver leaflets etc.

Here is the consultation questionnaire:

Neighbourhood Watch startup questionnaire

Where is it going to be held?

Then decide where your first meeting will be held.  A residents home or a community centre for example

Do I have to pay for it?

There is no charge for setting up a Watch – the street signage, local group registrations and Public Liability Insurance as well as all the support is free.

What does cost is the hire of halls, the printing of newsletters etc.

Who to invite?

All those in the area that the neighbourhood watch is intended to cover and in addition

Your local councillors

Local PCSO’s.

Appoint officers – these officers need to be people who can take a bit of responsibility for the running of the group and encouraging members … people who can put in an hour a week or so .

Chair – a group moderator

Vice chair – a person to support the chair

Secretary – look after the decisions of the group and making newsletters etc

(If the group becomes a formal group formal with a constitution then the secretary will liase with VANEL and other bodies that support charities)

Coordinators – Coordinators are the backbone and run the actual group itself – they interface with the police and all the residents as well as deliver newsletters and encourage residents.

Treasurer – you only need one if the group is formalised – he/she set up bank account – any 2 from 3 signatures for access – no two from same family for security reasons

Set up a constitution

This can be altered to suit your group, get it signed by officers.

Blank Constitution

Produce a list…

…of those who are interested with contact details

Start up QUESTIONNAIRE for each home

Do not try to do too much on your 1st meeting as you will get bogged down, but set a date for next meeting – every 6 weeks is sufficient. Get attendees to sign a “Members Present” sheet  This will save time trying to remember who has been there especially if you do not know them.

Secretary to send out minutes blank proforma Form completed in minutes to those who are interested. Include your PCSO’s and councilors, and those who have given email address (sending out by email saves paper, but always print a copy for your own file then this can be referred to at next meeting).

Template blank minutes of meeting

Set agenda for meeting(document 8) highlight any areas of concern. Get councilors and PCSO’s to deal with issues or advise you where/who to go to for further help / information.

Public Liability Insurance

This is covered through Neighbourhood and Home Watch but you must be registered with them first to be eligible for cover. This will cover you for any activities you may undertake in your local area, including holding meetings.

Keep meetings brief and to the point, don’t let people waffle on or others get bored and will quickly lose interest.

Look for funding opportunities – there are plenty of websites and local councilors are good supporters.

Don’t run before you can walk – but if there are any actions from your meeting do these straight away or you may forget.

Above all, enjoy – get to know your neighbours and look out for each other but don’t forget to put the kettle on a cuppa is always welcome.

Get in touch to discuss your new group further.