The People You Need- New Group Guidance Sheet

We've launched #DreamBigAtHome!

Our new lockdown website has hundreds of activities and games to do at home, weekly challenges to try and a regular programme of live workshops and events online, as well as information on how our groups can operate during the COVID-19 outbreak.


This guidance forms part of the New Group Journey resource.

You can download the information as a word document in the attachment below, or download the whole pack from the new group journey summary page. 

“I want to set up a new group”

A new group may start with one enthusiastic person who begins by spreading the word - see guidance sheet on publicity and outreach. There is often a small group of volunteers and parents with enough children for a fair sized birthday party, which grows into a Woodcraft Folk group.

Identify core group of volunteers

We think you need a minimum of four committed adults to get a group going, but those four people would be very busy indeed if no-one else pitched in.

There are many different roles involved in running a group - from one-off tasks to longer commitments. Many ‘behind the scenes’ roles don’t require you to work directly with children. To find out more about the roles available and the support on offer visit:

The main core roles are: group leaders and helpers, safeguarding officer, treasurer, group co-ordinator, secretary and volunteer coordinator. It’s up to you how you divide up the tasks involved; roles can be shared or divided up differently. Just make sure you all have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what.

It’s important that new volunteers are supported in their role, which is why we highly recommend finding a volunteer co-ordinator. If you find someone to fill this role early they can help individuals to find a role that suits their interests and skills. There is guidance online on how to recruit and support volunteers:

When planning ahead to your group nights we reccommend you do the following to ensure you have enough volunteers and everyone feels supported:

  • Identify four or five core volunteers 
  • Allocate roles among core volunteers 
  • Ensure have enough adult leaders/helpers to provide the reccommend ratios for each group night

Once you start running sessions, we reccommend the following adult to child ratios for your group nights.

  • one adult leader or helper to every 3 Woodchips
  • one adult to every 5 Elfins
  • one adult to every 8 Pioneers
  • one adult for every 10 Venturers

Registering your interest to set up a Woodcraft Folk group

Once you’ve made your decision to set up a new Woodcraft Folk group it’s a great to register you interest with us so that as an organisation we can begin to support you along your journey. You can complete an ‘Intention to set up a Woodcraft Folk group’ form and return to head office. Forms can be found on our website.

By completing the form you will receive:

  • Public liability insurance to cover your Woodcraft Folk activity including taster sessions (provided that two full members of Woodcraft Folk with an up to date DBS/PVG are leading and a risk  assessment has been completed).
  • Your group contact information will be advertised via our website to help with recruitment
  • You’ll receive your email account
  • We can contact your volunteers directly about training, new resources, campaigns and guidance materials.
  • Will continue to receive our new group support

*more details about @woodcraft emails and advertising via the Woodcraft Folk website can be found in the Publicity and Outreachsection.

Adult membership and DBS checks

All adults who regularly volunteer need to be members of Woodcraft Folk. You can join online or through your local membership secretary (if you have one). Being a member means that you have gone through our screening process: we take two character references and run a DBS (or PVG in Scotland) check.

It is important that you begin this process as soon as possible for each member of your group; you will need two adult members to register your group and open a bank account, and a minimum of two (who also have a DBS/PVG check) to be present at each group night.

  • Get all new volunteers signed up as members as soon as possible - at least two volunteers so that you can register your group.  

Training Volunteers

It is worth investing the time to benefit from free Woodcraft Folk support and training. You will meet other volunteers, and increase your confidence and knowledge of resources.

We encourage you to analyse your groups’ training needs and organise training using local leaders as tutors - session plans are available on the website: In the resources section, select Resource type: ‘Training’, and select tag: ‘session plan’. If your group doesn’t include anyone confident enough to lead these sessions, contact your district or another local group to see if anyone can help.

To find out about the variety of training we offer go to:

  • Work out your training needs

  • Come to a Woodcraft Folk training and watch our webinars

  • Ask your district or nearby groups to help you run local training

  • Check your local volunteer centre for free training

  • After your first term, think about ongoing training needs

Child recruitment and registration

When welcoming children to your group, use a child registration form so that you collect parental consent, emergency contact and health information before you start running sessions. We recommend you ask for signed hard copies of these, so that all the forms can be collected into a folder to be kept with the group wherever you meet.

If you are expecting a high demand for places, you might want to agree a deadline for applications and a set of selection criteria to keep things fair. These could prioritise: gender balance, proximity to the venue, age, reflecting local ethnic mix, or first come first served. If you are prioritising children of the original core group when group launching, make sure you are clear about this from the start. We advise against treating parental help as a criteria for jumping the waiting list after the setup stage.

Remember that you may well have children dropping out, so don’t be afraid to start you group slightly bigger than you’re aiming for - as long as you have enough adults there.

  • Register children who will attend group

  • Plan selection criteria if you think there will be high demand

Case studies

Many different approaches have been used to engage more people in Woodcraft Folk. Some of these have been written up as case studies, and are available on the Woodcraft website: - case studies and examples of how other groups have recruited both children and adults - a useful summary, and detailed case studies, about volunteer recruitment in the Folk

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