The benefits of being a full member

Thanet Creative Writers is a charity. To be precise, Thanet Creative Writers is an unincorporated charitable association.

What that means is that Thanet Creative Writers is run by its members. You can come along to our events, join our online groups, contribute to our blog, take part in contests, and everything else without being a member. So what are the benefits of being a full member?

Why having members matters

Having as large a membership base as possible is highly important to our aims as a charity. Having members allows us to address governments, local councils, funding bodies, and other large organisations on behalf of all our members.

The more members we have, the bigger voice the charity has for representing the interests of our members and the promotion of creative writing in Thanet.

If you believe writers and poets in Thanet need a stronger voice, then full membership is for you.

Our members have perks

With enough members, you empower us to organise exclusive events, local discounts, training opportunities and literary celebrity appearances.

Have you ever wanted to meet your favourite author?

By becoming a member you make it more likely that we can make that happen for you.

Our members have priority

When deciding who or what we fund (when we have funds available) the projects and wishes of our members comes first.

What is more, full members have the right to expect to have priority access to all events we run. Most events are open to all and have unlimited places but should there be a limited number of places or the event be closed to the public, our members still get first access. That includes priority registration to events with limited places.

If priority access to Thanet Creative Writers events is something you want then Full Membership is for you.

Members set the agenda

Full members of Thanet Creative Writers are the ones who decide what we are going to do next and help to shape what the year ahead will look like.

Full members know that it is one thing to be a consumer of the wonderful free services that Thanet Creative Writers provide, but another level altogether to have a say in those services.

If you are the kind of person that likes to set the agenda, to direct where things are going, to have a say in all matters, then being a Full Membership of Thanet Creative Writers is for you.

Members decide who leads

Thanet Creative Writers is lead by its trustees. The trustees include the chair (that’s me at the moment) as well as a number of other volunteers elected by our members. We trustees meet every month to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

As a full member, you get the right to vote in our annual elections to decide who will be taking care of business in the year ahead.

If you are the kind of person who cares about making sure the right people are running things then Full Membership of Thanet Creative Writers is for you.

Full members are leaders

In addition to deciding who will take care of business, full members are community leaders. They have the right to stand for election to any of the trustee roles.

If you are the kind of person who likes to be proactive in your community, or who likes to direct how the club or society they are part of will grow, thenFull Membership of Thanet Creative Writers is for you.

Full members are trendsetters

Full members have the right to sponsor others to become full members. Members also have the right to apply to have writer related events they set up recognised as an official project of, supported by, and funded (assuming we have funds available) by Thanet Creative Writers.

If you are planning on running events, clubs, or meetings for writers in Thanet, then Full Membership of Thanet Creative Writers is definitely for you.

Our members are awesome

Thanet Creative writers believe that its members are the most awesome people on the planet. We work as hard to make sure our members get the most they can out of being part of something bigger than themselves. We think you deserve it.

Become a member today

Writers’ Writing Competition: If I invented my own religion

Here is the theme for the writing competition that also builds your author platform. For full details please see week one’s post.

But first, an apology

I admit I dropped the ball this week. I honestly thought I had everything set up and scheduled but I failed to realise where we were in the week. That is my fault and I apologise. Winners to be announced shortly too.

Week Three: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 20th. However, if you need more time because of my mistake say so and I will delay judging by a day.

If I invented my own religion

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

Ideas

This theme was invented to allow you to show how your twisted mind works as a writer. Although the intention was that it be a biographical topic, feel free to write fiction, poetry, essay, you new cult manifesto, or something entirely crazy.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget to link to this week’s post so your entry is (much) easier to discover. You may find it easier to get more comments if you also share your post to your Facebook friends or on Twitter.

It is important to realise that unless you link to this post, then ou ping may not show up, and if it does, it will show up in the wrong place.

Writers’ Writing Competition: Week Two

Here is the theme for the writing competition that also builds your author platform. For full details please see week one’s post.

Week Two: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 13th.

If I had a time machine…

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

Don’t forget

Don’t forget to link to this week’s post so your entry is (much) easier to discover. You may find it easier to get more comments if you also share your post to your Facebook friends or on Twitter.

Writers’ Writing Competition

As promised, here are the details of our just for fun writing competition that also builds your author platform.

The competition is design to be a little bit like one of our group meetings. We all share our work in a format that we are happy with (see getting set up for more on that) and then we give feedback to each other in the comments.

You win if you get the most comments from the most people, or if you write a really good comment, or if you write a great entry.

This competition is all about being social and working together (with great feedback) as well as showing off your writing skills.

Competition and Rules

Anyone can enter

This competition is open to anyone at all. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can enter this competition. If you have time, you can enter twice but you are probably not going to want to.

Competition

There will be 12 rounds, one each week. Each round will have a theme to which you may write as little or as much as you wish. The only requirement is that your entry must be posted online – I will show you exactly how to do that as this is the part that builds your platform.

At the end of the 12 weeks, there will be a big community vote to pick the all time favourite – as chosen by you.

How to enter

To enter you need to publish your entry online with a link back to that week’s competition page. Don’t worry this is really easy. There are lots of free ways to publish your entry in a way that builds up your platform. There is a section called “getting set up” which will show you how to create a free account to post your entries. If you get stuck, ask in the group.

Winning

There will be three winners each week:

  1. Best entry
  2. Best on-page feedback (to someone else’s entry)
  3. Entry with the most on-page comments by different people

The winner will be whoever it seems like, has best matched one of those criteria. If there are lots of good entries and your one is not picked all I ask is that you be a good sport about it. Just by writing well, you are winning yourself a good foundation towards your future writing career.

The prize for best feedback will be limited to people who have entered the competition, so make sure you are clear about who you are. Also, don’t forget to give the feedback on the article itself and not on Facebook otherwise I might miss it.

So don’t just put your entry up, go and read other people’s because you might just win for an insightful or helpful comment.

This competition is as much about the comments you give as the entry itself. Read how to give great feedback.

Build your Author Platform

The aim of this competition is to have fun and while having fun you will also be enhancing your author platform without realising it.  An author platform is an engine by which you are able to generate sales as an author. It is made up of the presence and following that you have created prior to publication.

So in other words, you will have fun while also laying a foundation for future writing success. We will be having fun but you will also be building up your author presence – something which can take a long time to mature.

Week One: Competition Theme

This is the theme for this week. Closing date to have posted it online is midnight on Monday the 6th. Before you get writing, you should read the getting set up section, if you need help setting up a free space where you can publish things (Facebook just is not going to cut it this time).

What gets me writing?

You can write anything you want that fits that theme. As little or as much as you feel you need to.

My Platform: Getting set up

Placeholder Image

This is the only bit that is ever so slightly fiddly and may take as long as three whole minutes. Longer, if you want to customise things a lot.

It is also the most exciting part of the whole process. You will be claiming a space for your authorial voice to be heard. It is really easy and super fun. It is also very helpful later on when it comes time to get published.

To build your platform, you need somewhere you can publish your own content. This s where you are going to post your competition entries. If you already own a blog, then you can use that, if you want.

I recommend WordPress but I will show you haw to set up on a few different free sites so you can find one that you are comfortable using.

You don’t have to use these platforms but you will get the best benefit from using a proper blog. Also, blogs are fun. Trust me.

WordPress

If you have signed up to contribute to this site, or you have blogged at WordPress before then you already have an account but if you need one they take no time at all to set up. then just pick a format and you are ready to go.

WordPress will ping us when you publish your entry so I will know that you have entered. This is because you are going to link to that week’s competition page.

Quora

If you don’t like WordPress you can use Quora which has a free blogging option. It will look something like this. Just sign up and choose the blog option from your profile menu.

You may need to share your entry in the group, which is fine because I think you might like to do that anyway.

TumblR

Another choice is TumblR. We have a TumblR blog here. To play fair, you will have to make sure that your entry has comments enabled.

Medium

If you just want to enter the competition and don’t much care that you could be building a platform at the same time them Medium might be the choice for you. Again, grab a free account and post away.

Linking

With all these platforms to make a link, you just highlight the text to make into a link and then press the link icon. This will give you a box where you can paste the link which is found in your address bar at the top of the page.

It starts thanetcreativewriters.wordpress.com but you knew that right.

Try to use some text such as:

This is my Thanet Creative Writers Competition entry.

That way, it makes it easy for me to know that you want to be part of the competition.

Good Luck

Best of luck and remember you can write anything that fits this theme and use any title that you wish. Just link to this page and share your article on our Facebook group so I know that you are entering.

There’s no wrong answer and you can win not only by writing but by leaving a great comment on someone else’s work. If you need help, leave a comment on this blog post or post in our Facebook group.

I can’t wait to read what you write.

Why Thanet Creative Writers exists

I am a contradiction – my grammar is poor, my spelling is horrendous, and my grasp of the English language is rudimentary at best. But I love writing.

I love talking about writing with other writers. I love seeing writers succeed – seeing good writers walk the path that takes them to being great writers.

More than that, I love seeing people who never thought they could write go on to realise that they are writers.

That last point, seeing writers realise they can, was an eye opener for me. I never realised how much I would love seeing that happen until the day I first saw it happen.

One day I might tell that story but all that love is not why we formed Thanet Creative Writers but it is a large part of why we keeping doing what we do.

So why did we start?

Back in 2010, I started saying to people “do you want to start something for writers?” I did that one very simple reason – I love writing but being a writer alone is hard.

Skip forward to 2013 and four people, all of whom had toyed with writing, got together. We did that not because anyone was making us but, like me, those other writers did not want to be writers alone.

Being a writer alone means that when you get stuck with a plot point there is no one to ask for advice.

Being a writer alone means that if you don’t quite get how to write strong dialogue, there is no one to nudge you in the right direction.

Being writer alone means having no peers to give you feedback or to learn from.

Being a writer alone means that you never, ever, get a chance to see inside the creative process of another writer. You get to see finished books on shelves and are left wondering – “how do I get there?”

Being a writer alone means that you have no way to know if what you are writing is any good or how to make it good. More importantly, you have very few options to get help figuring out how to keep improving.

I knew full well that writers groups existed in Thanet. My dad used to take me to poetry circles when I was young. The chances were that there were more somewhere.

I had no idea how to find these groups. It was hard work to find even a clue of other groups and, at the time, what I did find online was so old I could not be sure that the group still existed. None of those few groups had Facebook, Twitter, or even email. That suggested to me that the people in those were probably a lot older than I was.

When I was a child, all the writers seemed to have been doing the same thing for a long time and they all seemed to know what they were doing. Whereas I, quite clearly, had no idea.

So I did what anyone else could have done. I called on my Facebook friends and three people answered the call. Then a few more. Then a few more. That was how Thanet Creative Writers was founded.

What we do is enable people to come together and share their love of writing. What we have is a vibrant community of people not only closer to my own age, but all ages. That gives us all the benefit of youth and aged wisdom at the same time.

That same vibrancy is present in our in-person events, in our social media “forums”, and in our wider writer’s community.

Whatever we do, it comes back to the same thing – we love writing and we want to be with other people who love writing.

If you love writing then come and join us.

Whatever you do, don’t be a writer alone.

Let’s sort this out?

This is written in response to the constant stream of accusations, threats and outright lies that are being aimed at M. Brown, and therefore us as a group.

A bit of background; In 2013 an idea for a writers group (called Thanet Creative Writers) was thought up in M. Brown’s mind. He shared his idea with me and others joined. Thus leading to the first ever meeting in M. Brown’s home. The second happened in a cafe in Margate.

We had been running successfully for a long time and had around 30 members. We decided to start meeting at a local pub. A while after that a ‘certain person’ joined in 2015. The group grew considerably, the name was changed by a vote of members (to Thanet Writers) and a website was produced, by M. Brown and a couple of others with the know-how.

Then, for reasons I am not going to go into here as it’s not the reason for this article, myself and later M. Brown, were removed from the facebook group, and didn’t feel welcome at any meetings.

This leads to M. Brown returning to the original format, with the original name, ideas and most of the original members.

It now seems that a certain person, possibly a member of Thanet Writers (unrelated), is going around spouting lies and rumours about one of us that are nasty and unfounded.

We are being accused of everything from posting ‘nasty things’ about the ‘leader’ of theThanet Writers and its members & making accusations against the ‘leader’ and/or its members, to copyright infringement & fraud. We have no idea if this is all from one person without the knowledge of his members, or if this is him with others involved. We have no idea if these so called posts even exist.

We don’t know what we have done to these people to make them feel it’s necessary to barrage us with this, and we have asked them on numerous occasions to provide proof of what we are being accused of. Nobody has come forward to explain any of it. Instead, they hide behind their keyboard to write various nasty emails, ‘open letters’ and ‘To my accuser’ posts in public arenas to gain sympathy for something they say is happening to them but have yet to substantiate.

The relentless campaign against us is causing great stress that we could all do without.

It appears that this individual is trying (and succeeding in parts) to turn people against us, and it has resulted in them losing members, and us being ‘blacklisted’ or ‘banned’ from other groups and events.

This is wholeheartedly not what writing is about.

Thanet Writers have been getting their information from a third party (so they say) and that third party is the person who sent the posts in the first instance to the ‘leader’, and it seems that he or she are saying they were from us.

We would like to know who this third party is. We would also like to know where you are finding all of these alleged posts that you like to pass on while saying they are from us…

Let me try to explain better. In one of these ‘Open Letters’ it is stated, and I quote from the original letter;

Recently I was made aware by a third party that you have made numerous posts containing allegations, which combined with statements you have made towards or about me have lead me to write this open letter. Usually I would not publicly respond to such matters, but after being sent these posts it appears you are putting me in a position where I have to.

This particular ‘open letter’ (posted publicly) was the very first time that we had heard about any such posts, allegations or statements. It was quite confusing to even receive such a letter.

The following quote is the private emailed reply (from M.Brown) to the author of the quote above. It is taken from an email conversation, sent in December 2016, between the two main people involved in this… shite.

Look, clearly, there has been some shit-stirring going on. If it’s not come from me (I hate that crap), and if it’s not come from you (you say it’s not), then who the hell has it come from? Solve that, and we can both go back to doing more interesting things. I read your “open letter”. I found it sufficiently vague to leave me in the dark. I am not going to respond to it because I have no idea what I am responding to AND because I am not going to get into that kind of argument. I am very annoyed that I have to address this at all. I shall file this under “another crappy 2016 thing” and move on. If you could do likewise, that’d be good. This is not an invitation to reply. It’s just a heads up and a request that you deal with your stress in a way that does not include me. Thanks.

Well, this reply did not work. Quite obviously, due to the fact that we are still receiving (so called) ‘olive branches’ & ‘Open letters’ and things posted publically aimed at us. I can only assume, based on this conversation being sent via private email, that the aforementioned ‘third party’ is the one doing the stirring.

We cannot stress it enough; so listen up.

WE, AT THANET CREATIVE WRITER’S, HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.

To clear up some of the rumours;

  1. Contrary to the popular belief of others, none of us have ever posted anything at all detrimental to other writers, and we emphatically implore anyone who accuses us of doing so to provide us with evidence (in black and white) of what it is we are supposed to have done, and to prove it, beyond all reasonable doubt, that it came from us. If anything we publish makes you unhappy then tell us about it and we will do our best to make things better.
  2. Contrary to the popular belief of some people, Thanet Writers is not the original group, and we did not copy them, or ‘their’ name. We simply reverted back to the original name after the unpleasantness happened.
  3. We did not copy them in becoming a charity. This has been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time. The ‘leader’ of Thanet Writers is aware of this as he was the one who suggested we wait until we became a bigger group.
  4. M. Brown, I. Adams, D. Clements, K. Peake, and H. Yasumi, A. Winder and myself (L. Winder) were, are and have always been the original founding members of Thanet Creative Writers. That is never going to change, no matter who tells you differently.

We are utterly sick to the back teeth of this rubbish. It is not something we started, it is not something we wish to carry on with and it is not what we, as writers, want to be dragged into on an almost daily basis. This shite will damage the local writing scene (as proven already) more than is necessary and not through any fault of our own.

We have sent a Peace Treaty message to one of Thanet Writer’s admin (H.F) asking if we can try to resolve this nonsense somehow, and we have not yet been answered. We decided to go down this route when it became quite obvious that the ‘particular person’ mentioned above is behind the detritus being aimed at us. We, after writing and sending it, received yet another ‘Open letter’. We then sent another message to the same admin asking if the peace treaty had been shown/read out to Thanet Writers. We are still waiting for a response.

Please, I implore you again, either provide us with these posts, statements and accusations you keep adhering too, or leave us alone.

Simply put, we have had enough. Put up, or shut up.

 

L. Winder, Lead Proof Reader at Thanet Creative Writers, Trustee and secretary of Thanet Creative Writers: Charity; and one of the original co-founders of the now named Thanet Writers.

Thanet Creative Writers, Then and Now

We’ve been going a long time and I thought it worth a look at where we started to see how far we have come.

Thanet Creative Writers started as an idea I had. An idea is nothing if you don’t share it and so I shared this idea with some other people. Our first meeting was in 2013 and consisted of four people. Myself, L. Winder, D. Clements, and I. Adams. We were ably supported by others particularly by A. Winder who did a lot of location scouting for us.

We were later joined a by a host of other people including: my dad (if you ever get to see his art do because you are in for a treat); the proprietor of SNK where we relocated for a while; and many others. I think our new charity secretary wants to cover more on that so I will let her fill in the details.

We spent a lot of time tinkering with formats for events trying to work out what worked best for writers. Even then, we seemed to specialise in helping new writers get started. To this day I get a real kick out of seeing people who always felt they wanted to write get started. I could listen to hours as they tell me about the plots, characters and settings that they have developed for their work.

Today, four of the five original members are trustees and all five are very strong supporters of our community.

The road from here to there has not always been smooth, there were some bumps along the way, but here we are now having grown from a ragtag bunch of oddballs interested in writing into a Charitable Association hoping to help many more people find the joy of writing.

It has been my distinct privilege to watch writers develop – some faster than others – from unsure beginners into confident writers. It has been an honour to walk that road with them.

I don’t know what the future holds but it is my fondest desire that we will be able to contribute something worthwhile and good to the local writing scene. May our mistakes me slight and easily forgotten and our successes to the benefit of all.

Now we are a charity

Yesterday evening a number of our regulars and other supporters gathered to progress Thanet Creative Writers from an Unincorporated Association into an Unincorporated Charitable Association.

On the surface, this might not seem like much of a big deal but this is the end result of months of planning and a high point we have been aiming towards for a long time. Despite cyber-bullies, baseless legal threats (from said bully), and general unpleasantness from what is likely a single individual in need of a hug, we joyfully saw a project that has run for the last four years become something more.

The formal signing of the Constitution saw the first seven members added to the charity and this was followed by the acceptance of five trustees including the three officers.

  • Mr M. Brown (that’s me) was unanimously elected Chair
  • Mrs L. Winder was unanimously elected Secretary
  • Mr D. Clemence was unanimously elected Treasurer
  • Mr A. Winder was unanimously elected as a trustee
  • Miss D. Gifford was unanimously elected as a trustee

Membership of the charity is not required for coming to our events. However, sponsorship by a member and a donation of at least a pound to show you mean it is required to be a member.

It is safe to say that we are hugely thrilled by this new chapter in our community’s history. Not least of all because now the community truly can be owned by the members and I can stop saying “this group is all about you, not me” because now there is a huge constitution that says so with a lot of words.

Those who expressed an interest in being a trustee, (but not just now), or expressed an interest but did not follow through by giving us your details in time, we will be holding an AGM at roughly this time next year and that would be the ideal time to step up if you still want to.

I am rather hoping that some of our newly minted trustees will feel the inkling to post here too. I am sure that you will grow tired of hearing from me soon enough. Until then, I hope that you will join me in congratulating our new committee and the members that made it all possible.

Charity Trustees

Thanet Creative writers are soon to become a charity. As part of that transition, we will be appointing trustees.

Trustees are an important part of a charity. A good selection of trustees can make a huge difference. A good board can help turbo charge the effectiveness of a charity.

According to reachskills.org.uk:

At its heart, being a trustee puts you at the centre of the action for the organisation you are involved in. The more effective the board of trustees, the greater difference you and your organisation will make.

If you feel like reading some more Ian Joseph from Trustees Unlimited offers advice on the questions trustees must ask to ensure they are fully aware of what they are getting into.

How much time will it take?

The amount of time it takes being a trustee differs from one charity to another. For Thanet Creative Writers you will probably be looking at a few hours a month, usually on one evening.

What are my responsibilities?

The trustees act on behalf of the chairty. In the case of Thanet Creative Writers the board literally reprisents the interests of all the members. In practice though, your repsonsibilities may be limited to asking the difficult questions and voting fairly.

Some trustees may be asked to hold items or money in trust (thus the name) as the charity will not be able to own them itself. Again, in practice this is not likely to make much difference to you as we will be setting up a seperate group bank account when and if we have a surplus of spare cash.

Chairty Commision Trustee guide has more details.

One more thing – It is you duty to speak up if you disagree. If you disagree with a decission the board makes then you need to go on record as objecting. If you are in the meeting it can be as simple as saying I’d like to go on the record as disagreeing.

It might seem quite minor, but it can be very improtant that the records ofthe charity reflect if a choice was unanimouse or if there were other ideas.

However, most boards try to reach full agreement on issues, if they possibly can.

Who can be a trustee?

Pretty much anyone can be a trustee. Unless you are bankrupt or were recently found guilty of fraud.

For Thanet Creative Writers, you need to be a member which means applying to become a member or being there on Thursday as we transition into a charity – in which case you are automatically a member. You can read more here

Take a look at the TCW Tustee Nomination Form if you would like to stand for election as a trustee. But be quick the forms need to be returned by the end of Wednesday.

Why TCW are becoming a charity

red and black pens

In February 2017 Thanet Creative Writers will be transitioning to a charity. For most people, this change means business as usual but there are some features of us being a charity that might make a big difference.

In this (rather long) article I will try to break down exactly what it means to be a charity, what you can get out of us being a charity and how to get the most out of this change.

Charities are important

Charities are an important part of our country. They exist for the public good. In fact, it is impossible to be a charity if you cannot prove that you exist for the public good.

What is a charity?

A charity is an organisation that operates for the benefit of others. Specifically, a charity must be:

  1. Not be for profit
  2. Have exclusively charitable purposes
  3. Operate for the public benefit

Thanet Creative Writers (TCW) runs for the benefit of writers in Thanet and not, in any way, to make a profit. Our hope is to make Thanet (and by extension, the world) a better place by encouraging people to embrace this satisfying and worthwhile pastime. If some of our writers can go on to make a living from their work then this is even better.

Integrity and Credibility

It is generally seen as easier to raise funds from the public at large for a charity rather than a small independent group. This due to the positive image of integrity and credibility charitable status presents.

Help and guidance is available to charities from the Charity Commission. This, in itself, should provide the public with reassurance and help to show that we are sincere in our desire to further the interest of Thanet’s writers.

Furthermore, the model of charity that we have chosen, with elected trustees and open accounting, should help to foster transparency and show that we are an honest and reputable collective.

If course, just being a charity does not automatically mean any of that yet it is the right foundation to build an honest and open community for the betterment of writers in Thanet.

Governing Document

Charities are defined by their Governing Document. This is a technical and legal statement that says what the charity is, what it will do, and the bylaws under which it will operate. The website charityexpert.net has a more detailed explanation.

The Governing Document provides a clear set of rules that describes how the organisation will behave. Thanet Creative Writers has, so far, run on the rules of discussion and common sense. That is fine for a small group but as we grow so our structure needs to grow with us.

The attempt by a few members to take over and control the group, last year, demonstrates that without some set of guidelines eventually there will be chaos and anarchy. While a bit of personal chaos can be good for the creative mind, generally it is preferable to have a degree of order within a community organisation. If for no other reason than so that we all know where we stand with each other.

Our Governing Document is a fairly standard one. It describes what we want to do and how we will go about doing it. It describes how we will elect our trustees and what we will do if there is a disagreement. I see this as an important safety net to have in place before we try and start any further ambitious projects.

I see it as a personal failure that I saw the danger and did not push soon enough or hard enough for us to establish ourselves in a more formal setting. Our Governing Document has been crafted to rectify this shortcoming while being as light, informal, and flexible as possible.

The final draft of our proposed Governing Document is available in our Facebook group as a file. Click here to see it.

Funding Benefits

Currently, any expenses that Thanet Creative Writers’ projects might incur have to be paid for by whoever is running things. That hardly seems fair nor is it particularly scalable.

Certain sources of funding, particularly grants, are open only to organisations with charitable status.This includes “Gift Aid relief” on donations from individuals. This is of direct benefit to the writers and events that we support as we will be able to access or provide funding to help get things paid for.

Additionally, we may be exempt from VAT in some cases. This should make some things less expensive by a significant amount. That’s good because it means that we can do more for you with less money.

Read more on the benefits of becoming a charity.

Being a Charity Member

Charity members get to vote in our elections and may stand for trustee rolls. Members also get the most benefit from our charitable activities in terms of support.

You do not need to be a member to come to our events. That said, we feel it would be a great idea to think about being a member.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Priority registration to events with limited places
  • The right to vote in our elections
  • Access to all our events even those not open to the public
  • The right to have any relevant event you might run listed as an official TCW event
  • Access to any local discounts that we might negotiate

On that last point, discounts, this is an aspiration for us at present but should we realise this goal it would be for members only.

To become a member you need only make a donation of at least one whole pound each year. As members have a lot of power over the charity, full membership (where all the benefits are) has a short vetting process. You need to either be at the signing of the Governing Document on the 2nd of February, added by a trustee later, or sponsored by an existing member. While we are small and it is possible to know all members by name, that vetting process is likely to take a few seconds at most.

The benefits and requirements of membership are explained on the Thanet Creative writers: charity project page.

Being a Trustee

A charity cannot run without trustees. The trustees are elected each AGM and serve to carry out the business end of the charities aims and objectives. To become a trustee you must first become a member.

Being a trustee can be a hugely rewarding experience, especially when you see the difference that the charity is making. Also, and this never hurts, having spent time as a trustee looks great on your CV especially if you were able to help achieve something notable during your time as a trustee.

It should go without saying, but a trustee cannot be paid for the role. That may be a touch simplistic as there are conditions under which trustees can be paid for professional services but the charities commission will require a full and detailed explanation and justification. Sufficed to say, trusteeship is voluntary.

Read more (from the BBC) about the value of becoming a trustee.

Projects we already run

We already run a number of small projects. The most prominent are:

There are a lot more Thanet Creative Writers projects if you would like to read about them.

What being a charity means to our current projects

If you enjoy coming to Thanet Creative Writers: Tea and Chat or other events that we run then I have some good news. The change to charity means no change at all for you in terms of the events themselves. Tea and chat will continue as it always has.

However, it does mean that there may be money available in the future to run bigger and better events. It also means that if there is a problem there will be appointed and recognised people operating inside a fair and impartial framework that you can go to who will take care of the problem and help you get back to doing what you love – writing.

It also means that if you want to create something new then there is a framework within which we will be happy to help you make that something. It should be safe to invest time or money into a project know that there are safeguards in place which will keep things on track.

Finally, it also means that no new project should overwhelm existing ones. Should TCW launch a website, conference, or even a festival, then your current meetings and groups will not be overrun with talk of projects that you might not be interested in right now.

In short, becoming a charity means doing things the right way from the start.

Projects and event we would like to set up

Our members have a lot of idea of things that they would like for us to be doing. We have spoken over the years of setting up a literary festival, of running writers’ social events, of setting up a weekly poetry event for new poets, and of running training and presentation evenings. In addition to that, we would like to produce an anthology publication to showcase the best work of those that come to our events.

If we cannot do all that we would, at least, like to inspire others to do some of these things.

While we are doing that we would also love to support the many different writer oriented events and groups that exist in Thanet. We would like to help others who have innovative ideas for new events and groups to realise those ideas.

Becoming a charity, with the funding that this would allow us to access and the yearly donations of our members should allow us to make some of these dreams a reality.

Booking Specialist Speakers

How awesome would it be if we could get top writers like Niel Gaiman, J. K. Rowling, or Steven King to come and speak to us budding writers for an hour or two?

Who do you think they would be more willing to come and talk to – some local writers’ group or a legitimate charity with the funds to cover their expenses?

Becoming more

When I founded Thanet Creative Writers my only thought was that it would be cool to hang out with other writers. Things have grown since then and this change to a charity is in many ways simply a natural part of that growth. Thanet Creative Writers long ago stopped being about me and became about us instead. We are writers and we want to help other writers.

Things like dyslexia, dyspraxia, youth, age, career (or lack thereof) should not be things that stand between you and enjoying writing. If we can help remove those barriers, then this is a good thing that we want to do.

If you would like to be part of establishing Thanet Creative Writers as a charity then please come along to our launch.

Thanet Creative Writers’ Charity Launch event