Establishing a New Group

A community group is a type of group or organisation that is created and operates for a specific purpose or to provide a specific service in a community for the public benefit of the members of the community.

Community groups can be a home to people with like-minded interests. They offer a way of working which will benefit both the immediate and future community, be it social, environmental, economic or something else.

Setting up a group can seem daunting however if you tackle this process with a good plan of action and with help and support then it isn’t as daunting as you think.

Before attempting to set up your group ask yourself: what need is it filling? Are there other groups doing what your group wants to do? If so, can you work in partnership with them? Look to complement these groups and other services in your area, such as charities and voluntary organisations. Resources can be scarce and you should avoid duplicating the work of others.

This page lists the main actions you will need to address or consider. The checklist approach will help keep you on track.

​Key points 

  • What is it you want to do or offer?

You need to have a specific idea about what exactly the group you are setting up is going to do and why? 

  • Who do you want to help?

Who are the individuals or people you will support?  

  • Where will you deliver these activities and services?

Do you have a venue? What geographical area are you going to cover? Are you going to work with all residents of that area or with a particular community of interest?

  • What skills and expertise do you need to deliver that service/need?

Why are you/ your organisation the best placed to help? Is there another group best placed to provide this service? Can I work in partnership with them?  Would they consider delivering this service?

  • What resources will you need?

How will you fund your activities? Grants, loans, income generation, donations services charges etc

  • Who will manage the organisation/community group?

Do you have a core group of at least 3  interested people who can act – at least initially – as your committee? Who will your members be?

  • Who will deliver the activities or services?

Will it be run by volunteers? Will you be employing staff? Do you need to be paid for what you do? Will you be taking on contracts or leases or owning property either now or in the near future?  If yes to any of these you will need to consider a legal structure for your organisation and should also read advice on choosing a structure
If you require support Highland Third Sector Interface have a group of delivery partners covering all of Highland; details can be found here.


All Areas

Identifying the need


Unincorporated Charitable Trust


Community Interest Company


Social Enterprise


Choosing a structure


Company Limited by Guarantee


Industrial and Provident Societies


Community Right to Buy


Unincorporated Associations


Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation


Development Trusts


Charitable Status

Charitable Status