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Help Sheet

Starting to keep records

Keeping records may not be relevant if you are primarily a social group, and indeed many groups deliberately do not want to have written records about any aspect of their group, often in order to protect the anonymity and privacy of members of a small group.

But if your group is getting larger, or you're having trouble keeping track of what happened last time you met, you may want to consider keeping some sort of record of group discussions or decisions made.

As your meetings start to take shape the group will need to think about and discuss:

All of these things need to be decided and put in writing by the group.

Your group's 'manifesto'

Once your group seems to be ticking along, you might want to consider writing down what the group is trying to do and what the group is starting to stand for.

One way to do this is for the group to brainstorm a modest list. It can sometimes help to think of it in terms of how the group would advertise itself - catchy heading, goals, processes, costs, meeting places and so on.

At this stage your group may be considered modest and to a large extent experimental. You may not know yet whether this structure is going to work. That's no reason though not to document what your group does. You can change your documentation as your group changes.

Once these lists are completed they can be made available for people who may want to join. However, they will be a 'work in progress' and people need to know that everyone can contribute to this ongoing self-definition of the group.

Later on, if your group decides, this kind of list can form the basis of a more formalised statement, like a mission statement.

Two examples of the sort of list you might produce are provided below:

Riders with Style

  1. The group is open to all people who like riding bikes who identify has having experienced 'mental illness'.

  2. We welcome new members but at this stage we only have a few spare pushbikes so members are encouraged to bring their own.

  3. The group is committed to scavenging for bikes and gaining the skills needed to put bikes together and get them ready for the road.

  4. The group will meet once a month in the Babylon Community Complex - 25 Moore Street, Babylon 3333.

  5. To start with we are hoping to organise group rides once a month.

  6. The only costs will be if we need to catch a train to our starting point (or catch an ambulance back).

  7. This group is wholly consumer developed and consumer run.

  8. Riders with Style has nothing whatsoever to do with therapy. If we get fit as a consequence of having fun, seeing new places and enjoying each other's company then that's a bonus.

  9. All these guidelines are new and are being trialled. They will be regularly reviewed.

  10. For more information either phone 9999 9999 or email

Out or In Women

  1. The group is open to all women with a 'mental illness' who identify as lesbian.

  2. We welcome new members and are committed to making all women welcome.

  3. The group will meet once a month in members' houses and we will rotate hosting duties, but there is an opt-out option for people who can not or do not wish to host meetings in their homes.

  4. Women are free to be as open or 'out' as they feel comfortable with, both in relation to their sexuality and 'mental illness'.

  5. If anyone else's language upsets a member we will stop and talk about it. Members are encouraged to make the group aware if they are feeling uncomfortable.

  6. The group will not have a budget nor be dependent on any other organisation for financial support.

  7. The group is committed to improving the lives of its members and all lesbians who identify as having been labeled 'mad' or diagnosed with a 'mental illness'.

  8. All these guidelines are new and are being trialled. They will be regularly reviewed.

  9. For more information either phone 9999 9999 or email

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