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
GIY offers lots of help and support to its local
- A more detailed step by step guide to getting
- 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
- Promoting your Group to the GIY network
online and in social / traditional media including
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!
The Marketing Guru - does
advertising and PR
The Money Person - counts the
money and takes responsibility
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
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
Try to ensure that the venue is
accessible for all with adequate
Check whether you'll have to
arrange seating in advance of each
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
On the night:
Introduce yourself and GIY and
why you think it'll benefit your
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
Thank them and ensure you get
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.