Photo of ten members of Law Centre staff at a staff meeting

Advice Services
Community Care
Community Groups
Employment and Discrimination
Welfare Benefits
Mental Health
Public Law
Advice Network
About Us
Home Page
Staff List
Volunteer List
Job Vacancies
Annual Review (PDF format)
Annual Review (Word format)
Contact us
Like To Help Us?
Easy Read

ABLC Colours
White on Green
Black on Yellow
Black on Blue
Yellow on Black

Increase text size
Reduce text size

Community Groups Advice

Access to legal advice and assistance for small, grassroots community groups can be confusing and difficult to obtain. This is even more so for those groups emerging from within more recently arrived communities. Such groups often don't know where to go or who to approach about even the simplest legal questions.

At the Law Centre, our Community Groups Legal Advice Service aims to help by offering a guiding hand and help groups to understand legal structures, constitutions, charity law and other legal issues which affect them.

We can give one-off advice by phone, letter or email. We also offer a one hour one-to-one session in our Legal Advice "clinic". These services are usually available on Tuesdays.

Sometimes group leaders or officers need help in a more mentoring role to help them through the relevant documents and processes.

Sometimes we can visit a whole group, talk to a Management Committee or offer informal training to help people understand their roles and responsibilities, for example as Charity Trustees.

Both Company Law and Charity Law have gone through significant changes in recent years and we can help with updates and trying to demystify this area of law and regulation.

The topics we advise on include:

We are happy to advise on a broad range of legal matters affecting community groups from simple queries to more detailed or complex issues. Sometimes this will involve signposting a matter to a specialist solicitor or another agency who can help better with a complex query.

We can also offer training to Management Committee members on a variety of subjects, for example roles and responsibilities of Charity Trustees and Company Directors, or other relevant topics. This will usually be in partnership with other infrastructure support bodies such as VOSCUR, the Black Development Agency or Social Enterprise Works (see below).

The service currently operates on a part-time basis only.

Please note: our service does not include advising community groups in their role as employers.

More intensive casework or mentoring work usually requires resourcing from a small grant. The Law Centre will try to signpost groups towards obtaining such a grant, if required.

NB. When visiting the Law Centre for Community Groups Advice, please bring any existing constitution and/or statement of aims and purposes paperwork.

How to Contact Us

You can contact us on our Community Groups Advice Line - 0117 9167732. You can leave a message if there is no one available to answer your call.

Alternatively, contact Graham Partridge, the Community Groups Legal Advice Worker by email:

Other useful websites

Please note that we cannot vouch for the content of these external websites.

Charity Commission. A comprehensive website where you can find lots of useful information, search the register of charities online, download publications and find out the latest information affecting charities.

Companies House. Access information about matters relating to Company Law, download booklets and information, download forms and complete them electronically.

Community Matters. The website of the National Federation of Community Organisations where you can download information sheets about a variety of matters relating to community groups, membership information and other useful information aimed mainly at community associations and centres.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). Useful links to government websites for policy issues, consultations, etc. NCVO provides training and publications useful to the voluntary sector which you can access together with up-to-date news and information.

Websites of some local support organisations

VOSCUR. With over 700 members, VOSCUR is the generalist support and umbrella organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Bristol. They are the first point of contact for Bristol groups seeking advice and support. Telephone 0117 9099949 or email

Social Enterprise Works. Provides support, advice and guidance to social enterprises, with extra face-to-face support available to help start up new ones covering a range of aspects including legal structures and incorporation.

Return to top of page