GIY

Get together with people in your community and share the joy of growing your own food

5 Step Guide to

GIY

Overview


GIY "Welcome to the ChangeX GIY guide! We're delighted you're thinking about starting a GIY Group in your community. Here you’ll find all the information, practical tips and resources you need. There is someone to help you at each stage of the journey so don't be afraid to get in touch!" - Michael Kelly, Founder of GIY

5 Steps

Who? Someone who...

Resource Checklist

Clock

Time

As a Champion you’ll need approximately 4 hours a week to start and maintain your GIY Group.


Get Started

Decide to become a champion

GIY Champions are people that care about their community and believe in the tremendous potential of food growing. Although most GIY groups are run by a small steering group, it’s the champion that is the changemaker with the initial enthusiasm to get the group going. Typically champions are not expert growers, just people very interested in growing their own and passionate about the idea of coming together with other GIYers to learn and share knowledge. GIY understands how important its Champions are so tries to support them in as many ways as possible!

GIY offers lots of help and support to its local champions including:

  • A more detailed step by step guide to getting started
  • Being at the end of the phone at any time to talk about starting/running your group, we’ll come visit if we can!
  • Providing a range of tools and resources to keep your group thriving via the Local Champions document store and a monthly ezine for GIY Groups.
  • Connecting you with other local champions and mentors.
  • Promoting your Group to the GIY network online and in social / traditional media including GROW Magazine

Get help

The most successful GIY groups are a collaborative effort, where a group of people come together to start and maintain it. Some great GIY groups are a solo act, but they don’t always last, because let’s be honest – community organising can be hard work!

Roles

The Marketing Guru - does advertising and PR

The Money Person - counts the money and takes responsibility for fundraising

The Techie - updates your group page, social media, email etc

So it’s far more fun if you’ve got support and can share the workload.GIY is not wild about committees, titles, chains ofoffice and all round stuffiness – but it does make sense to have a steering group and to get people involved that can provide practical help, for e.g. one person does your group’s web stuff, another works on promotion, another tries to organise speakers, another organises garden visits, etc. It’s also tremendously valuable if you can get an experienced grower to get involved in your group – they can act as a mentor to novice growers in your group and even give a talk on nights you can’t get a speaker.

The steering group can help to organise your launch event and get local interested people along. On the night of the launch you can also ask some people to join the steering group and they generally will be happy to help out.

Following the launch, it'll help for the steering group to meet regularly to oplan the activities of the group. Expanding the group regularly will keep the pressure off everyone and when recruiting keep in mind the roles that need to be filled - check out the 'roles box' over on the right hand side.


Find a venue

A key action in getting your GIY group up and running is to get a venue for GIY meetings. Typically, GIY meetings take place once a month in a community venue and last for 1 - 2 hours.

A key principle of the GIY network is that the meetings should be free of charge if possible so it’s preferable that you get the venue free of charge.

Tips

Try to ensure that the venue is accessible for all with adequate parking.

Check whether you'll have to arrange seating in advance of each meeting

Check if the venue can provide a microphone, screen and projector - these will come in handy!

That’s not always possible but many venues are happy to provide a venue for such a good cause. If you have to pay for the venue, you might need to get donations from people coming to the meeting.

GIY Groups base themselves in libraries, town halls, community centres, hotel meeting rooms, cafes, restaurants, schools and other venues. Where you base your group is not particularly important, as long as the venue is comfortable and provides a nice environment for meetings. You don’t necessarily need facilities, although it’s handy if the venue provides a projector and screen. If teas and coffees are available to buy that makes for a more sociable meeting! You should also check whether your GIY meetings are covered under the venues’ general liability policy. If not, you can buy group insurance at discounted rates from GIY.


Prepare for the launch

Picking a date for your GIY group launch is an important step as it focuses the minds of all involved in the run up to the launch meeting. It’s also the point at which GIY groups start to feel ‘real’ for the organisers, with a real-world date to work towards. There are a couple of simple pointers in terms of when to kick off.

  • Leave enough time to prepare for the event and to promote it as widely as possible.
  • Think about the seasonality – spring and autumn tend to work well to launch a group, whereas summer does not.
  • Be consistent - Pick a day of the week that is likely to work in your community e.g. the last Wednesday of the month.

Promote

Once you have a venue and have picked a date you need to promote it – if you don’t promote it no one will come! Treat the launch as a powerful opportunity to reach out widely in your community. Start talking to EVERYONE on every media avenue available to you.

  • GIY can provide you with posters that you can edit and put up in your local church, town hall, tax office, shop, garden centre, cafe, sports grounds - anywhere there are potential GIYers.
  • Use social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate and spread the word locally.
  • Use the GIY website to spread the word, you can post your launch event on the website and GIY can also feature your event through its weekly ezine.
  • Connect with other voluntary and community groups in your community - don't be afraid to go and meet these groups, tell them what you're planning and why you're excited about it.
  • Get on the local radio, and send emails to local papers for local notice section. They should be interested and will be particularly effective in getting the word out. You'll need to send a press release typically 2 - 3 weeks before the launch and GIY HQ can provide you with draft that you can adapt to your launch.

Launch your GIY group

A launch event is a powerful way to get a group started, creating a bit of a buzz around the idea of GIY in your community.

Tips

On the night:

Introduce yourself and GIY and why you think it'll benefit your community

Have fun activities (e.g. seed swap or plant swap)

Have a speaker (a local well-known celeb will pull in the crowds)

PODs session - get them into groups to talk aout what they'd like to learn

Thank them and ensure you get contact details

After you register your group, GIY can provide you with lots of information on organising a launch event, including presentation templates and handouts, and you can even download videos to show at the launch night. If you give enough notice someone from GIY HQ could even make it along on the night.


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