Freegle Affiliated Community Area Guidelines

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Core Area

New Groups Team (NGT) defines a core area for a Community when they are considering approval. Communities will not be approved in the future within that area. The core area is determined in agreement with the group by NGT.

Catchment Area

Operating in a geographic area that is agreed with Freegle is a highly recommended requirement (not mandatory). NGT comply with this by allowing individual Community owners to decide their own catchment areas. The catchment area is the geographic area within which a Community accepts posts and members. The catchment area is the area a Community subsequently may serve if it chooses, although recommended good practice is that this wider area should be in consultation with neighbouring Freegle Communities.

Community Names

New Community names must be approved by NGT. Freegle Affiliated Community Name and Logo Guidelines outlines agreed protocols.

Community Size

20,000 - 30,000 is believed to be the ideal population size for a Community to be as small and local as possible and still viable. It is based on a lot of previous experience and informal study of Community growth. This ideal is not always practical however and we do our best to be practical, take local situations and views into account and approve Communities which will grow and serve their local community.


It is recognised that the population and demographics of the UK are extremely diverse and that a strict population criteria or one which is rigidly linked to local government administrative boundaries is not practical.

Standard Freegle Community CORE areas should not overlap, specialist ones might overlap standard ones.

Experience from Freecycle and Freegle Communities indicates that successful Communities can usually serve areas with populations of between 20,000 and 100,000, depending on density but there are many examples of Communities successfully serving smaller or larger populations. Given two or more viable options it is generally better to go with the smaller option and leave space for more Communities later. Non-Metropolitan areas tend to serve a particular town together with satellite villages, or just the town if it is large. Large Metropolitan areas and Cities are usually served by Communities aligned with metropolitan boroughs within the city. Communities in rural areas tend to serve part of a county including named villages, but not normally bigger than a single county district. Sometimes a Community will make more sense to cover parts of two or more districts due to geographical or social divisions but this should still stay within guidelines and suitable council boundaries. Communities thrive where there is a mix of demographics leading to an equilibrium of supply and demand for items.

Approval Conditions

1. Community areas will be approved if:

  • They serve a population of between 20,000 and 100,000 and there is no overlap with an existing Freegle Community area; and


  • There is a clear town or population centre as a centre of gravity for the Community or:
  • It is a rural area within a county district or natural geographic boundary or:
  • It is an area covered by a metropolitan borough council

2. Community areas serving populations of less than 20,000 will be considered and can be approved if the following apply:

The area is rural and to include additional population would lead to impractical travelling times between members (including islands)and/or there is a strong sense of community within the area proposed.

3. Community areas serving populations of greater than 100,000 will be considered and can be approved if the following apply:

  • It is a single settlement with a strong identity; and/or
  • The population is dense and the distances between members are small; and/or to split the area would be jeopardise the success of the Community for demographic reasons.

NGT will normally bring issues surrounding the implementation of the above guidelines to the Development Working Group for discussion. In a small number of cases where the NGT have major doubts about approving an application and cannot reach a compromise then they may cite the particular application. The decision whether to bring a case to the Development Working Group will be at the discretion of the NGT. Permission for this will be obtained from the applicant who will not be named. The Development Working Group will try to agree a way forward. The decision on that case then will form a precedent for future similar cases.