Cafe Groups - General Info
The Freegle site provides the Chitchat facility for all members to contribute to, for general information, chat, recommendations etc. You can receive notifications of those chats via email to keep you in touch with conversations. Go to Modtools>Settings>Personal>Email me about ChitChat?.
As a Freegle moderator or owner, though, you may choose to separately create either a local cafe group for your own community, or combine with other local moderators to create a combined area cafe group.
A separate Cafe group might be useful so that issues and items which are not suitable for the Freegle platform can be redirected elsewhere, although will take extra work to moderate.
You can link to your cafe group from your main group guidelines and provide a link from your homepage - that should be sufficient to let members be aware of its existence.
It would also be useful to send out an admin on the main Freegle group once it has been created. If you have an automatic signature on your outgoing emails to Freegle group members you could add a link to the cafe group and also include it in your welcome message from the main website.
What Can Cafes Be Used For?
Cafe groups are useful for allowing those topics which might not be suitable for Chitchat or the main message board.
Request Information, Services or Help
Members may want to request information about local services and ask for recommendations for local tradespeople. They may wish to advertise local community events or ask for volunteers to help out. They may wish to ask for help (perhaps moving a large or bulky item) or get information about where they can buy a particular item or get a particular service.
Advertise Businesses and Services
You should decide whether you want to allow members to offer their own services and advertise their businesses directly on your cafe.. You may prefer to ask that members place their adverts in a database or the links section of the group instead, if it offers that facility.
Borrowing and Swapping
You can allow borrowing and swapping if you wish, but should make it clear to members upon joining that you will not get involved if there is a problem encountered. Furthermore, there are potential liability issues for lenders (see Lending Liability so you might feel that to safeguard them it is best not to allow borrowing via your group.
If your main Freegle community allows pet offers or requests, it would be wise to make sure your pet moderator (if you have one) is also a cafe member.
If your community does not allow pets, be aware that the issue may be raised in the cafe. Provide a list of animal rehoming links, and also links to local animal charities too. A list of national links can be found on this page here.
Vouchers and Coupons
As these items are not technically able to be saved from landfill, or they may require further spend in order to be used, you may wish to ask members to offer/request vouchers and coupons on your cafe group.
Cafe groups are chat groups, so choose settings that work best for your needs.
Please find below a number of files that you can use for setting up your own cafe group.
- Cafe Group Guidelines - send out upon joining and then monthly thereafter
- Cafe Group Disclaimer - send out upon joining and then how ever often you prefer
- Cafe Group Leaving Letter - send out upon leaving the group
List of Cafes
A (probably incomplete and out of date!) list of Freegle cafe groups is held on this spreadsheet