Weekly Tasks

There are lots of things that a successful group will need to ensure are completed or monitored on a regular basis. Depending how your group works it may be that these are always done by the same person or by different people on a rota basis. However you decide to allocate tasks, it is good practice to ensure that everyone understands who is accountable for ensuring that these are being done when required.
 
You will find it helpful to have a group folder or box to keep your registers, health forms and other paperwork organised and together in one place and ensure that you have what you need each week. You can find a list of suggested contents for a group folder on the Woodcraft website.
 
Some tasks need someone to attend to them on a weekly basis to keep the group ticking over and ensure that everyone can enjoy the sessions safely. Your group may have nominated somebody to look after these tasks every week (e.g. a group treasurer to look after your money), or you may have a rota so a different person looks after them each week.
 
Subs & Finance
 
Most Woodcraft Folk groups rely on contributions (often known as ‘subs’) from the young members that attend the group. These will offset the costs of the hire of the premises, annual group registration fees, and the costs of materials and resources for the group’s activities. Unless your overheads are very low, you will also need to do additional fundraising to cover your costs.
 
Your district may already have decided a policy about how groups should collect contributions from parents/carers, or it may be down to groups to decide for themselves. You should ensure that parents/carers understand what the expectation is, and that all your regular volunteers know how contributions are to be collected and recorded.
 
Most groups charge between £1 and £2.50 per week for children to attend. Some groups collect subs weekly in cash, others encourage parents to pay monthly or termly by cheque, standing order or bank transfer.
 
Gift Aid
 
If you ask people to make voluntary donations instead of paying a set weekly or termly fee, this will allow you to reclaim Gift Aid on any donations made by UK taxpayers. Staff at Folk Office can process Gift Aid claims on your behalf, in return for a small admin fee. There is lots more information about Gift Aid, including a recorded webinar that you can watch, on the Woodcraft website.
 
Budgeting & planning

There is a simple budgeting tool for groups on the website that you can use to work out the annual fixed costs of your group. This should help you work out how much you might need to collect in subs or contributions from parents.
 
Other things that your group will need to consider, perhaps in discussion with your District’s Co-ordinator or Treasurer, might include:
 
How will you record payments? Possible solutions include a cash or receipt book, membership cards/record sheets, or an online system such as WebCollect.
Do you still expect parents/carers to pay if a child doesn’t attend? Most of your overheads will stay the same regardless of how many children come to the group.
How will you ensure that your group is accessible and inclusive to low income families? You may wish to suggest a different level of subs/contribution for low or unwaged households, or agree to waive subs altogether in cases of financial hardship.
How will you store cash securely? A lockable cash box is a good idea, but it needs to be clear how this will be kept safe. If you collect most of your income in cash, this will quickly add up, so you may need to agree how often cash should be banked.
What is your policy about volunteer expenses? You should have a process to ensure that volunteers who buy materials, snacks etc. for the group can be swiftly reimbursed. You might, in some circumstances, be able to offer to cover volunteers’ travel expenses too.
 
Register & consent forms
 
It is essential that your group has a robust process for recording who is present at sessions. You will need to know who is on the premises in case of a fire or other emergency. A record must be made and kept of who was present at each event/activity, as this could be important if any safeguarding concerns are raised about any adult or young person who is part of the group.
 
You should therefore ensure that you record not just which children are present, but also all the adults who attend a session (whether they have a role as a volunteer, or are just accompanying their child/ren). There are templates available on the website to ?record young members?and ?volunteers attending your group? that you can adapt for your own needs.
 
Your group should also think about how you will manage taking the register at each session. It is helpful to identify one person to make sure that this happens – it is good if this is a different person to whoever is running the main activity, as they will have enough to think about! It might be possible for an older child to take responsibility for taking a register, supported and supervised by an adult. In a Venturer group, you could ask participants to sign themselves in as they arrive. 
 
It is also important to have a record of basic health and contact information for everyone in your group (adults as well as children) in case of an emergency. For young members, you should also have a record that their parents/carers consent to them being part of the group. There is a template ?registration, heath and consent form? on the website that you can use to capture this information.
 
You should pay particular attention to any health conditions or additional needs that parents/carers flag up on health forms, and consider what other volunteers need to be made aware of. If, for example, there is a child in your group with diabetes, it may be important that all volunteers are made aware of this and of the signs of hypoglycaemia. In other cases, you may need to have a discussion with parents/carers, and the young person themselves, to understand their needs more fully. A child diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder may have very particular needs, and volunteers will be much more able to support the child to be a part of the group if these are understood.
 
You may find it useful to add to the standard health form to obtain additional information or consent from parents/carers, e.g.:
 
Will children/young people make their own way to sessions, and are they permitted to go home alone?
Do they give consent to photos being taken at sessions, and can these be used externally or in the media?
 
Health and contact details may change over time, so it is important that the information that you hold is up to date. The easiest way to do this is to ask for new health forms at the beginning of each year, so the information is never more than 12 months old.
 
You should also bear in mind that this information is sensitive, and should not be shared unnecessarily. It is important that it is kept securely – for example, health and contact details should only be left in your meeting venue if they can be stored in a lockable cupboard.
 
You should ask parents/carers to complete a consent form for their child as soon as it is clear that they are going to become part of the group. On occasions, new children might come to the group without your prior knowledge, and without a parent to accompany them (for example, they might come along with a friend who has been attending the group for a while). In this case, it is sensible to try and make contact with their parent/carer by telephone to be sure that they are happy for the child to attend.
 
It is always possible that an incident may come to light some time after it actually occurred, or there may be subsequent concerns raised about a young member or a volunteer. It is therefore important that health forms, registers of attendance at group nights and at camps/residentials, risk assessments and accident books are kept for a period of time. In most cases, three years is sufficient (after which they should be securely disposed of). You can find more information about ?what information needs to be retained? on the website.
 
Other issues
 
What else needs to happen on a weekly basis will depend on the nature of your venue, and how you work with other volunteers to make your group work. However, you might need to think about:
 
What arrangements need to be made for next week’s session? Is it at the normal time/place, or do people need to know about other details? Who is taking the keys, the cashbox or the group folder?
 
Is there anything to record/hand over? If there is a significant incident at a group night, you may need to write up the details, speak to parents/carers, other volunteers or the group’s Safeguarding Co-ordinator. If so, this is best done while it is fresh in people’s minds. You can use a simple form, like the ?Group Diary Sheet? on the website, to pass on information about each group night. Any serious incident, or a disclosure of abuse by a young person, should be recorded as soon as possible on the ?Disclosure Form?
 
Was anything used up? Do you need to replace craft supplies, first aid items or documents in the group folder before the next session?