The People You Need

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You're in one of the main sections of Woodcraft Folk's New Group Journey training module. The most important points to remember are listed first, and following that is a fuller explanation of what you need to do in this area. There are many different ways of doing things in Woodcraft Folk, so we've included only the essential guidance in this module, leaving you to develop your own methods to suit your group.

Links to individual resources are in bold green, and you should read each of these for a full understanding of good practice. Links to other pages of the website are in non-bold green.

Use the Ask for Help link to request help on a particular topic, or request a Twin group with whom you can share ideas and joint activities.

This module works alongside a checklist, timeline and guidance sheets for you to print out and work through. Download the people you need guidance sheet


Key things to remember:

  • Aim to have at least four volunteers committed to helping run the group

  • At least two volunteers must be members of Woodcraft Folk so that you can register your group

  • There are lots of resources explaining what volunteer roles involve and how to find and support volunteers

  • Contact Folk Office if you don't have a local District whose Membership Secretary can help you all become members.

Volunteer roles

As you look at setting up or revitalising your group, start with the people you have and work out what roles need to be carried out in your local group. This can vary locally and some roles may be combined, but generally you're going to need:

All the main volunteer roles that keep Woodcraft Folk going on a local level are listed in the Volunteer Guide, which is available in print for free from Folk Office. There is a brief summary of the tasks for each role online. 

There is lots of information on recruiting, inducting and supporting volunteers and why this is an important consideration for any group, in the Volunteer Toolkit, and our volunteer recruitment page. Consult these for much more detail and examples of adverts, posters, welcome information, a suggested induction checklist to go through with new volunteers and further support. You should also take a look at our volunteer policy.


Every volunteer should become a member of Woodcraft Folk and therefore needs to fill in a membership form and agree to our aims and principles. This should be done at local group level, unless the group is brand new. The Membership Secretary should follow up getting references from the two referees given by each potential member. There is a standard reference request letter at the bottom of the membership secretary page

New members can alternatively join online. Under 16’s can also become members for free, either using an individual under-16 form or a group form where all the young people in a group sign up at once.

Membership fees can be paid online.

In addition, if a volunteer is going to be in a childcare role such as being a group leader or helper they will also need a Disclosure & Barring Service disclosure and will therefore need an appropriate form sent to them from Folk office (unless a local Membership Secretary holds a stock). Note that the forms are different in England & Wales from Scotland. In Scotland, there are two types of form depending on whether you're already a member of the PVG scheme or not. In Woodcraft Folk, we ask that volunteers redo their disclosure once every three years.

As a member of Woodcraft Folk, you'll receive the monthly e-newsletter, containing news, latest resources and upcoming events. You are also entitled to discounts from certain other organisations including the Youth Hostel Association. To find out more, contact Folk Office.

It's a good idea to create a website login. As long as you use the same email address you used for your membership (if you joined online you will have already created a login), you'll then be able to access your membership record online, keep your details up to date and publish news, resources, images and events to the public website. You'll also see 'My Communities' when you log in, giving you access to your group Community, your District Community and any Topical Communities you might want to join. Look out for the Discuss Community, where members from all over the UK ask questions and debate topical issues. 

Registering your group

You will need at least two members signed up before you can register a new group – but we recommend having four or more adults. You should complete a new group registration form. There are no group fees for the first six months. If you're thinking about setting up a new group have a look at the overview of what support's available (especially at the starter pack at the bottom of the page) and read the FAQs for new groups.

Training and support for volunteers

There are various training opportunities and support networks for members. This includes local and national events; our training page gives an overview of what's on offer. We also have a mentoring programme and a new group buddy scheme.

Further support to volunteers that your group may want to consider is reimbursing expenses (find a generic expense claim form online) and / or paying for or subsidising volunteer membership fees. Some groups offer to pay for the first year’s membership.

Find out more about support for volunteers

Feel as though you understand how it works? Take the quiz.