Setting up an LGBTQ+ Group
Take time to identify a clear purpose and vision for your group.
- What are you providing and why should people join your club?
- How do you want the group to develop in the future?
Establishing these two things at an early stage, will help other elements of decision making as you go along. It will help to build your group’s identity, although don’t forget that your group’s purpose and vision can evolve with time and growth.
Pride Out’s vision and purpose:
What sport and physical activity facilities exist in your local area?
Do you know how much it will cost to use the facilities?
Are changing facilities included?
How can people get to facilities?
For many groups, facilities will likely be the biggest expense. Consider which facilities are available, especially keeping in mind how far people might need to travel, accessibility and quality of facilities. Indoor spaces tend to be in high demand, so best to make enquiries early about available time slots.
If your session is in a city, it may be helpful to share information on public transport routes to the facilities.
Not everyone will use public transport so include information about parking spaces. LGBTQ+ people living rurally will travel into cities for LGBTQ+ specific activities. Whilst you cannot pick a location that will suit everyone’s needs, think about the accessibility of the facilities from people travelling into the city/town as well as those living locally.
In some cities, there will be areas which LGBTQ+ people will be uncomfortable about travelling to. This could be due to safety reasons, or they could be areas far away from where larger groups of LGBTQ+ people live. Factor this into your search for facilities and if you are unsure of which areas to avoid, speak to LGBTQ+ services and groups locally to understand best placed facilities.
Ask to see the facility’s trans policy and speak with them about steps they take to include trans and nonbinary people.
It is recommended to share information about the facilities your group will be using on your website and social media. Include detailed information about the toilets, showering and changing facilities, so people are aware of what to expect. If you can include pictures of facilities, even better.
Check out this showering policy from Vancouver Frontrunners, and the thought they have put into thinking about the needs of all their participants:
To find facilities, look for leisure centres, university/colleges, schools or contact your Active Partnership, Local Authority or university/college.
Your national governing body may also know of suitable facilities. These websites also identify local facilities.
A constitution is an important document for your group.
It sets out the rules and structure of your group: how your group runs. It defines the membership of your group. A constitution also clarifies how your group’s procedures should work, can help resolve internal issues that may arise and will protect your group’s members and volunteers. In addition, many funding sources require that a group has a constitution in place.
Most national governing bodies have template constitutions which groups can adopt.
These might have sport specific elements included, so look at these initially. Some National Governing Bodies may also support you in writing a constitution.There is further information about creating a constitution on Sport England’s website:
Policies are a set of ideas or a plan of what your group will do in specific situations. It is important to have policies in place, which are communicated clearly to all members, volunteers and coaches within your group.
These policies will help your group to run smoothly and protect your group’s members and volunteers. You may need to have certain policies in place as a requirement of accessing funding.
National Governing Bodies may have template policies which you can adopt for your group. Sport England also have templates on their website:
Some important policies are listed below:
Codes of Conduct
The Code of Conduct sets out the expectations of all participants/members at your group. You may decide that people should sign it as an agreement or highlight it as part of any membership forms.
Some National Governing Bodies have a template Code of Conduct which can be adopted, such as the FA’s Respect Code of Conduct
Birmingham Unicorns, for instance, have adopted the ECB’s Code of Conduct into their own and display this clearly on their website:
Data Protection Policy
A Data Protection Policy identifies how your group will protect any personal data collected from members. It should reference recent GDPR legislation.
Health and Safety Policy
A Health and Safety policy details the measures in place at your group, including risk assessment procedures, participant consent forms, how to respond to an incident or accident and who to speak to regarding health and safety concerns.
Equality & Diversity Policy
The Equality Act 2010 states that any sports club with over 25 members and rules that govern membership may be an ‘association’ and associations have a responsibility to act in a way which does not discriminate.
Although your group maybe set up to specifically for LGBTQ+ people, it’s important to acknowledge the diversity of people and communities under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, and to ensure everyone is treated equally.
Some NGBs have example Equality & Diversity policies, which you can adapt for your club. Make sure your policy is relevant to your club and its size and talks about the communities you serve.
Some clubs have adopted additional policies which have helped to create an inclusive environment and set out a clear position on any issues that may arise. Goaldiggers FC, a football club for women and non-binary people based in London, have an Accountability Policy, which outlines the process of addressing any harmful behaviour that may occur
Your policies should be accessible to all group members and you should communicate any new policies that are adopted as time goes on. It is also helpful to upload your policies to your website, so people looking for a new group are able to find them easily.
- What is the purpose of the group (social, getting active, competition etc)
- What does the community want from the group?
- What facilities will you use?
- Are they accessible facilities?