Home | Starting Up A Youth Club

Starting Up A Youth Club

First of all, well done for getting to this point - having an idea and wanting to make it real. 

Surrey Youth Focus is delighted to support you as you set up and run your new club or project for young people in your community.

To help you do this we have developed a Virtual Tool Kit to help you understand the responsibilities and issues relating to setting up and running a youth club in Surrey with a team of voluntary or perhaps paid staff. In order for any club, project or activity to run smoothly it is essential that everyone in the team works together with a clear understanding of the purpose and objectives.

You will find in this document information, examples of good practice and advice on subjects including:

  • Starting up
  • Running a voluntary youth group
  • Working with young people
  • Policies & procedures
  • Information, advice & guidance

Each individual How to? section under these headings has been designed to be easily followed. They cover subjects you need to consider and others you may want to consider in the future. Read on to explore the opportunities, responsibilities, rewards, necessities and potential pitfalls of Youth Club life.

The Tool Kit was last revised in 2014. 

Disclaimer: The reader assumes full responsibility for using the information in the Virtual Tool Kit and neither Surrey Youth Focus nor any of its employees is responsible or liable for any claim, loss or damage resulting from the use of this information.

Once your club has been established you may wish to consider one of 3 ways to move forward:

  • Become a small charity (turnover less than £5,000).
  • An ambition to grow quickly (turnover likely to exceed £5,000 in short order).
  • Become a social enterprise (because your plan is to sell a service or products to make money, but for charitable purposes.) 

A Small Charity

This might be a youth club, an activity of some sort, or a network. You will need to think about:

  • Purpose - what are you wanting to achieve?
  • What’s the charity name?
  • Beneficiaries - who will benefit from your activities/work? What is the public benefit?
  • Banking - you’ll need a bank account in the name of the charity, with two signatures to authorise payments on the cheque book/accounts.
  • Governance - Who is going to be in charge of the organisation? You’ll need Trustees, a minimum of a Chair, Treasurer and Secretary, but ideally more. They will be representing the work you’re doing, for example parents or young people, and those with particular skills (finance, public relations, human resources).
  • Disclosure & Barring Service formerly CRB checks - these will be needed for anyone actively working with young people.
  • Insurance - Surrey Youth Focus is only in a position to give information (NOT advice or guidance) about insurance. A youth club or similar organisation will need Employers and Public Liability insurance.  Surrey Youth Focus members can access discounted insurance as a member benefit. Please consider joining us.
  • Policies and Procedures - You’ll need policies and procedures even to a limited extent. Instead of creating your own from scratch you can use ours - part of our extended Youth Workers Tool Kit by joining Surrey Youth Focus as a member.
  • A Constiution setting out why you exist, for whom, and what your aims are.

Visit www.charity-commission.gov.uk for more information.

A Larger Charity 

Here you may be a larger charity spinning off a separate activity, or in a position of inheriting a building or other resources, including funding. All the issues identified above still apply, but to a greater extent and in more depth.

You will need a formal constitution and governance arrangements.
Visit www.charity-commission.gov.uk for more information.

However, if you consider that the financial or operational risk for a new charity and its trustees are likely to be too great, it would be prudent to think from the outset about becoming dual registered as both a charity and a company limited by guarantee. In this event the trustees may become directors of the company, or (as with Surrey Youth Focus) prefer to retain the Trustee title.

The advantage of dual registration is in limiting the financial and personal exposure to trustees/ directors to just £10 typically, BUT they must have exercised due diligence in the management of the charitable company. There is also the practical complication of being registered both with the Charity Commission and with Companies House www.companieshouse.gov.uk.

A Social Enterprise

This will be relevant to someone staring up a trading organisation buying selling goods and services for a social purpose, and not returning profits to the shareholders but to the social beneficiaries. Profits are needed from the business. There is plenty of advice on setting up social enterprises, sometimes called community interest companies (CiCs) – see for example:


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