Being a Member of FoVS
What does it mean to be a Member of Friends of Victoria Square?
FoVS is a Community Group, run by The Community and for The Community as a way of caring for Victoria Square, Penarth.
We do this in a variety of ways through projects that are based around such themes as Conservation, Nature, Preservation, Gardening, Community Engagement, and more.
The great thing about Joining Us is that you don't need any experience in any of these, just a keen interest and a desire to learn, expand your knowledge and Get Involved.
Of course, any previous experiences, skills etc. that you can bring are much appreciated. Where possible we look to help our members to gain more, as our members may in return do the same for the group.
There are many roles a member of Friends of Victoria Square can take on. If you are looking to JOIN US, here is a handy guide to most of the ones we either are already utilising, or are looking to develop and expand upon.
New members are free to ask to be involved with any of them, and we will ensure we will help them learn and understand what is required for doing so.
All organisations of our type require A Committee, so ours is no exception. Being a member of The Committee means you are in control of all the important aspects of running the group. While you may not be able to take on a key role such as: Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary, or Executive, you could still sit on the committee as a deciding member.
To find out more about joining The Committee, please speak to its Chair.
Note: Not all roles that might sit in on a committee meeting are committee roles. Some are Key Support Roles (see below). Some members of The Committee do also hold other roles within the group.
Key Support Roles
These are non-committee roles that still play a vital part in running this organisation. These roles are non-voted into and are usually taken up by members who either have experience in that area, or a keen interest. Key role jobs are flexible and can come and go, depending on need.
Key roles include:
Work Party Coordinator
Head of Gardening Team
Public Events Coordinator
Promotion & Marketing Coordinator
Cross-Community Engagement Liaison
KEY SUPPORT ROLES can be filled by more than one person, either working together, or on separate projects, depending on the needs. To find out who is managing each of the current roles, click here.
Of course, not every member can be, or wants to be one of the above, which is why we have plenty of other opportunities available.
These can include:
Gardening Team Members
General Care of the Square
Knowledgeable / Experience Bringers
Promotional Resource Generation
Public Event Volunteer
Member Event Attendee
See below for more details about any of the above roles!
What if I just want to Learn?
Then that's fine too. We aren't expecting every person wanting to join us to be knowledgeable in ANY of the areas we cover with our Gardening, Conservation and Group Management. If you're mainly looking to learn and improve your skills in any of the areas we cover then that is fine. Our members will do their best to impart their knowledge and help you to achieve your goals.
While they themselves may not be professionals, but experienced and knowledgeable individuals, you could still learn a lot from them.
Or not do much at all?
Of course, you may not want to be actively involved in any of the above, but just support us as a passive member. This doesn't mean that we will ignore you as you'll still get opportunities to Get Involved. Whether this is coming along to one of our Members / Public events, making donations (money or materials) or simply receiving our news via email. The only thing we expect of a member as a minimum is their support.
Roles in Detail
All these roles are Non-Committee. See OUR MEMBERS for information as to who is holding each Key Role overseeing these.
Work Parties (a.k.a. On-site Action Days) are a staple of our group. These are the volunteers who turn up when needed to do either general or specific tasks at the site. From general Care of the Square to sorting our specific project elements, as well as fetching and carrying and assisting where needed. Any member can volunteer where they can (and you MUST be a member to do so).
Work Parties can meet at any time, though usually try and restrict themselves to no more than once a week/every two weeks, unless there are specific tasks that need doing, or can only be done by certain members or at certain times. Usual meeting times are Saturday Mornings 10-12, unless bad weather dictates otherwise. To find out when the next Work Party Action Day is, keep an eye on our Facebook Feed.
Work parties are overseen by the:
Work Party Coordinator
This is the person responsible for organising and overseeing any on-site Site Action Days, where members come together to do maintenance on our project elements.
The Gardening Team (a.k.a. The Gardening Group) are the volunteers responsible for looking after all the horticultural plants that we add to The Square. This includes not only those in the Community Garden, but also those planted on the Log Piles & Stumperies, as well as the wildflower areas. The Gardening Team is overseen by its Head Gardener, who coordinates with the team directly for schedules, crop proposals etc. Anyone can join The Gardening Team. You don't need much (or any) experience in gardening, especially if you are looking to learn. Though any knowledge and experience you can bring may be useful to them.
If you are looking to join The Gardening Team please speak to the Head Gardner, who will take you through the process and expectations.
Note:, while The Community Garden, Log Piles & Stumperies & Wildflower areas are considered separate projects, they come under the care of The Gardening Team as it is easier for them to coordinate
Project Teams & Leaders
We have many Projects, and not all of them have physical elements (such as our Hibernacula and Bog Garden). Some include things like Tree Monitoring, Conservation Surveys, Data recording and more. Because we are a varied group in what we do, we can create whatever projects we like surrounding our work. some projects may come and go, while others ma become permanent, ongoing features.
Project Leaders tend to come about in two ways. Either from a need, or from an idea someone has had, and we've told them yes, that's a great one, so you can take the lead in planning it. Depending on the project, a Project Leader may need to be experianced, knowing what they're doing (and what they may need to comply with too).
Anyone could become a Project Leader, and any member could volunteer to join a Project coordination Team to help get it running to success.
If you are interested in joining an existing project, speak to the committee or its Team Leader. If you wish to propose a project, speak to the committee.
This is something we hope ALL members will take on as a role (however we understand if anyone does not wish to, for whatever reason). Community Engagement is a key part of what we do. It is a Public facing role that ranges from going out and promoting our organisation further afield, to simply talking to anyone passing by in The Square who has noticed what we're doing and shown an interest.
It can be fun, easy and enjoyable task, though we understand not everyone feels suited towards it. Don't Worry, we have some members who are very experienced in this sort of thing (or just enjoy a good chat with someone), so they can step in if available. And, if you yourself are looking to try out this sort of thing, practice it and gain some very useful experience, they'll be happy to help you to improve your abilities (which can be very useful for many professional jobs)
Public Event Planning & Coordinating
As we move forward, out of recent restrictions and we look to get back to engaging more with the Local Community, we need to start thinking about ways we can do this. One of them is of course holding Public Events (as opposed to Member's Only Events). We'll need to be looking at what types of events we can hold, preferably utilising the wonderful space of The Square that we have available.
For that we'll need people to head up organising and coordinating these projects, as well as assisting in their creation... and of course volunteers to help run them.
Planning such events (and knowing what is needed and possible) does take a some experience, though helping out in other ways won't need so much. If you are interested in taking on this sort of thing please speak to the Committee. This is a flexible role that can be filled per event, though a consistent overseer would be useful. Currently we have no 'Chief Public Event Coordinator.' that is not a committee member stepping in to fill this need.
Of course for every event we hold we will need...
Public Event Volunteers
We will need to staff our public events in some way. Volunteering to help out as a general assistant to running them would help us a lot. You probably won't need any experience, and can be 'trained' what to do beforehand.
To get involved in a Public Event, speak to whoever is coordinating it for how you could help.
Members Event Planning & Coordinating
These are like Public Events, but only members are invited/permitted. While these technically do cover the organisation of some of the other activities covered here (such as Work Parties and Planning Meetings (which are usually organised by the lead members for those areas), it is also seen as a separate activity and role itself.
Member Events can include things like arranging a talk from a visiting expert, to simply organising a fun get-together.
Speak to The Committee if you wish to suggest any such events.
Promotion & Marketing Coordinator
What's the most important thing about our group? Getting it recognised. While we already do this in several ways (and have several existing members... including committee... fulfilling these roles
This role can be taken on by more than one person. It works in coordination The Committee and Web Management Team to ensure all details are correct and made available to the public by all means possible. They will also work with any Offline Media Content Generators.
Fundraising is something we as a group aren't really doing at a more local level, mainly as we've had some rather generous grants from some large organisations. However, these grants won't last forever, and do also limit us as to what we are allowed to spend their budget on (no benches from them, sorry). So we need to start looking at ways to Fundraise for ourselves.
We will be looking for both ideas, and people to run them. Whether that's finding ways to generate money, or coordinating the receiving of it.
Because we are part of The Penarth Civic Society,* all fundraising has to go via them under their charity number. But that doesn't stop us from raising the funds ourselves.
Cross-Community Engagement Liaison
There are many other Community groups, organisations, schools etc. out there in Penarth (and even beyond), and we are looking to connect with as many as possible who might find doing so a benefit for both parties. Many of our members do also have a membership of another group etc., so are already giving us a Cross-Community Connection. However, they many not be the contact point for that group.
C-CELs are those who can help make those connections. It doesn't matter which side of the equation the majority of their time is devoted to (e.g. a school board governor, youth group leader), or if they are not affiliated with anyone else, being a member of us but working as a liaison to another group will allow us all to create a plan where our work can be shared with them.
If you have connections with another group and think it might be possible to get them involved with us, speak to The Committee. (You don't have to be a member either to do this)
Web Management (Website & Online Social Media)
In order to help promote our work, and ensure our members (and everyone else we can) are up-to-date on it, we have several online presences. This includes our website (have you seen it yet?), Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. With options to expand further should we feel it necessary.
The Web Management Team is also responsible for linking The Group to The Community in a digital fashion. Whether that's simply by Liking another group/organisation's Facebook Page (and ensuring they receive the appropriate tags and shout outs when we've worked with them), to emailing other group's web managers asking for cross-site links.
At the moment a small handful of volunteers, (led by our Web Manager), are busy building up our online areas, resources and connections to ensure they meet a good standard of display and information. If you can bring anything to this activity, please speak to him.
Offline Media Content Generation (Generators)
This is everything from photographs and videos etc. taken of our work, to producing flyers and other promotional materials for the group.
This is a pretty flexible role that anyone can get involved with. Whether you're a keen photographer, or simply an enthusiastic amateur, you could still help create the many media materials we might need.
The OMCGs work with The Web Manager & Promotion & Marketing Coordinators when they need work doing. Though that doesn't mean that they can't also generate their own content for our use, and bring their own ideas to the table as to what could be done (e.g. making a promo-video or Facebook Story).
Speak to the Web Manager for more about what can be done with this role.