Running a local DF group - Manchester DFs

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.


Overview of the group - how many people come along regularly? How often do you meet, and what sort of venue?
We meet fortnightly above a co-op in manchester. We are particularly lucky in that there is a co-op hall near us which we're allowed to use for free. We're a broad group of around 40, but an average meeting will be between 10 and 15.

Activities - what do you do on a typical group night? 
Sessions can take many forms. We play a lot of games, we've planned weekends away, gigs etc & we've had speakers from political organisations and charities in.

Money - what do you find works best in terms of paying subs and affording the venue where you meet? Are there any other costs involved?
We have done subs at one point, but we aren't doing it at the mo, it seemed pointless really as we got the room for free. Our only regular expenditure is milk for tea, so we just take it in turns to get that.

Members - how do you get new people? 
We get a lot of recruits in from Districts in Manchester, friends, people from college etc.

Roles - what roles do you have? Does one person do all the running of the group, admin etc, or is it shared out / rotated?
We're a bit chaotic, we don't have specific roles and stuff, we do things when we need to!

Relationship to the District - do you get involved with District events / help with younger groups / go to camps?
We stay quite close with our District, they've provided us financial support in the past. This year we went to the christmas party and played games with them. We also helped organise the District camp for Manchester this summer, and ran a load of programme there. We organised a weekend to Lockerbrook for our Venturers a while back.

Resources - do you use any books, forms, websites, non-DF volunteers etc that you'd recommend other DF groups use? Anything you wish you had?
We use some DF resources, but could definitely use more, there's a huge wealth of stuff that we aren't making the best use of to be fair.

Advice - any particular advice for other DF groups?
I'd say the place is the main thing, what you really want to avoid is meeting in pubs etc because you will just fizzle out. We're very lucky to have a place for free, first off try contacting co-ops, schools, youth centres which might have a community space; if you can't wrangle one for free, look at church halls. For us, having a regular meeting is very important, as is keeping the momentum going in terms of projects and action. We are always at our weakest when we have nothing to do. Also communication links- we have a Facebook page, but I also send out texts to the group on the day of every session.