New NHW Groups
For a new NHW group to be established, the local residents must demonstrate community commitment to the program. They also need to define the area (geographical or interest) they wish to target (eg rural, residential, business area, boating club or community gardens etc).
The format of the group and its operations are set up within the guidelines and constitution of NHW Victoria but are flexible enough to accommodate community differences.
Following these steps will help you to establish a new NHW group:
1. Become a volunteer of NHW by visiting nhw.com.au/getting-started/
Click on one of the four options provided - Follow, Subscribe, Volunteer or Start.
2. Follow up with an email to NHW state office (email@example.com) to express your interest in establishing a group in the area. Describe the area of interest so a check can be made for other nearby NHW groups.
3. If you are starting a new NHW group in a LGA that already has a NHW LGA Committee, your details will be passed on to the Chair of that committee so local support can be provided.
4. If there is no LGA Committee in your area, you can determine community interest in the establishment of a NHW via social media, an established community group or through a letter drop in the proposed area advertising a public meeting to discuss the program. For more information view the NHW Communications Policy.
5. To spread the load, it would be desirable to identify other local volunteers to assist in the establishment phase in the letter drop and/or at the meeting.
6. The meeting needs to be widely advertised via avenues such as local media, social media, shops, schools, libraries, and local Councillors. Council distribution points may also be able to assist in displaying the information. Ensure all information regarding the meeting is emailed to NHW state office (firstname.lastname@example.org) so the meeting can be advertised on the NHW Victoria website and Facebook page.
7. NHW Victoria will make every endeavour to have either the state CEO or an appropriate representative (eg Board Member or other volunteer who is extensively involved in the program) in attendance at this meeting to assist you and answer questions.
8. Contact your local Police Station to ensure your local Police Liaison Officer or Crime Prevention Officer is invited to attend the meeting or to send a representative. This will also demonstrate the community’s initiative and encourage support from Victoria Police at the local level.
9. The venue chosen for the meeting should be located either within or very near to, the proposed group area. School and church halls are generally suitable for these meetings, as they are equipped with appropriate facilities (eg tables, chairs, parking, and basic kitchen facilities).
First Public Meeting
1. Ensure NHW Member Application forms are available for completion and collection at the meeting. The forms should be collected by the organiser of the meeting.
2. Ensure there is sufficient interest to establish the NHW group. A minimum of six and preferably ten volunteers are required to enable the various activities involved in establishing the NHW group to be shared without overloading any person.
3. The meeting organiser presents an overview of NHW and an agenda to include the following:
- Various classes of membership – Accredited Members, Community Members, Community/Supporters as per the NHW Victoria Membership Policy.
- Roles and responsibilities of volunteers.
- Calls for the election of the NHW Group Committee.
4. Attendees nominate the names to form the committee. One resident may be elected by majority vote to lead the new NHW group. Police representatives may make a recommendation but cannot vote.
5. A follow-up meeting is scheduled with the elected volunteers as soon as practicable. The aim of this meeting is to establish the structure within which your NHW group will operate. Ideally, this meeting is held within one month of the first public meeting.
6. Advise NHW state office (email@example.com) of the outcome of the meeting, the names of the proposed committee members and planned actions.
7. Volunteers holding any of the positions requiring them to be an Accredited Member then organise a National Police Check (NPC).
8. NHW state office authorises access to our Member Resources area on the NHW Vic website where you will find information and useful tools to help operate the new NHW group.
Already Part of a Community Group?
If you are already part of an established community group that is interested in being involved in NHW there are two main options:
1. As you have already established a community group you could use this committee to carry out NHW business as part of your meeting procedures keeping the NHW records and finances separate; or
2. Start a separate NHW group from your community group.
Whichever option you choose, you will need to establish a committee and email NHW state office (firstname.lastname@example.org) a list of the proposed committee members. You need a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer as the minimum.
Volunteers holding any of the positions requiring them to be an Accredited Member then organise a NPC and email a copy to the NHW state office (email@example.com).
Groups may decide to merge so they can become a single entity and continue running across a broader geographical location.
When multiple groups decide to merge, the following steps must be undertaken:
1. Contact your LGA Committee or email NHW state office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to advise of the intended merger.
2. Organise a meeting with the merging groups. If required, NHW Victoria will make available the CEO or an appropriate representative (Board Member or other Accredited volunteer) to attend the meeting to provide advice and answer question.
3. At this meeting, the individual groups must minute:
- Their intention to merge to one committee.
- Calls for the election of the NHW group committee.
- Agreed operational arrangements for bank accounts, newsletters/social media and meetings.
- Planned actions.
4. Email a scanned copy of the minutes including the names of the proposed committee members, to NHW state office (email@example.com.)
5. If a volunteer is not already an Accredited Member and is holding a position requiring them to be an Accredited Member, they organise a NPC which after completion is scanned and emailed to NHW state office (firstname.lastname@example.org.)