Setting up a new Club?

Here are a few guidelines... 


  • Is there a big enough population in the area to draw members from?
  • Is there another club in the area doing the same thing or similar?
  • Is there a suitable venue available?
  • Have you enough funds to cover early running costs?
  • If there is a national governing body (NGB) for the sport or activity you should contact?.

Select an appropriate legal structure
You will have to choose which legal structure is suitable for your club. The most common structure for a club is an unincorporated association. As an unincorporated association, a club has no separate legal personality, and the club members are personally liable for the actions or debts of the club. If the club wants to employ staff or lease property, an unincorporated association may not be the best legal structure in which to operate. You can also set up as a limited company.

A set of rules (constitution) needs to be drawn up. The club constitution is a written document that states the rules and structures that govern the club and should outline the functions of the club and the procedures for membership, meetings, and committees. A club constitution will be required for funding and applying for tax relief. If there is a national governing body, it may be able to provide you with a model constitution which you could adapt.

Selecting a name for your club
A bit of thought here goes a long way. A lot of clubs integrate a local area name into their club name to better connect and integrate within the local community. It's worth considering a wider catchment area name rather than something too-local, should you ever have to move. In any case, you must also decide upon a club name to use when opening a bank account.  

Elect members to your committee and assign roles for officials:- 
A club needs a number of officials to run the club. The minimum requirement is Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. These are elected posts and the holders must be members of the club committee. There can be other members on the committee as laid out in the club’s constitution, for example, a Children's Officer. A club can also have other roles outside of the committee and club members could carry out these roles.

Annual General Meetings (AGM)
An annual general meeting (AGM) is required to be held each year so that all members can have an input into the running of the club. The club committee is normally elected at the AGM.

Funding operations
You will have to raise funds to run the club. Eventually, these funds may come from membership subscriptions. You should document the costs of running the club for the year ahead. This will help you create a budget of income and expenditure each year.

Bank account
You will need a bank account in the name of the club. The bank will usually ask for two signatories for withdrawing cash or signing cheques. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer to maintain accounts recording details of the financial affairs of the club. All monies and cheques received should be paid into the club bank account and recorded in the account book. Receipts should be issued for any cash received. The accounts may have to be audited each year.

Tax relief
There may be a scheme of tax relief on income for certain approved bodies. Information on tax relief should be available on your local taxing authority website.

As an unincorporated association, the club members are personally liable for the actions or debts of the club. Therefore, the club should hold insurance to cover its members. It should have suitable public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance for its activities.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force across the EU on 25 May 2018. This regulation increases clubs responsibilities about how they collect, use and store members personal data. Clubs need to understand their responsibilities under data protection law and have adequate procedures in place.

Vetting of Instructors, assistant instructors, and helpers
People working with children or vulnerable adults must be vetted by your Police National Vetting Bureau. 

Working with children and young people
If your club works with children you should develop specific policies and procedures on how to create a safe environment to prevent deliberate harm or abuse to the children using your services. These policies and procedures should cover:

  • Dealing with child protection concerns
  • Reporting child protection concerns
  • Working safely with children
  • Recruiting and managing staff
  • Child safeguarding awareness and training
  • Involving parents and children
  • Implementing and reviewing the safeguarding strategies

    The best place to find out information about this will be on the website of the National governing body for your sport or activity.