Caretaker Groups

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Caretaker groups are those handed over to Freegle nationally or abandoned to the ownership of national teams or individuals. The responsibility for running them is then taken on centrally by the Mentor Team.The intent is always to find and train a new volunteer team, but due to time constraints these groups can remain in Mentor hands for a long time.

Assigning a Caretaker Group

A Mentor is allocated as the caretaker owner, with a second member of the mentor team or reliable, known and contactable person acting as a backup owner as a safety measure, and the names of the groups are added to the caretaker list. This list is available here [1]

Running a Caretaker Group

Best Practice guidelines are followed by the Mentors when running a caretaker groups:

Development Group agreed (9th August 2015) the principle that caretaker groups should be managed in a consistent way to simplify moderation, embed good practice and make it easier to pass onto a new mod team. So, for caretaker groups:

  1. Mentors should adopt a common set of basic rules - Caretaker Group Rules
  2. Mentors should use ModTools with an agreed configuration which provides standard messages with room for flexibility.
  3. Mentor NGT link members will inform NGT when a group has been accepted as a Caretaker Group.
  4. NGT should make recommendations about any changes (area guidelines, logos and names and any other information NGT may have relating to the group) as soon as possible. Agreed recommendations should be implemented, with the least disruption to group members as soon as practicable.

Note: All currently available posting methods will be added on adoption of the group.

Passing over Caretaker Group to new team

When an existing Freegle volunteer or volunteer team offers to take over a Caretaker group permanently, the Mentors should consider the following:

  • Has the applicant:
    • A history of spamming or of extensive multigroup joining, other than having had a hacked account or for Freegle national work requirements.
    • An internet history showing them to be intolerant e.g. making offensive comments on gender, sexuality, disability, religion etc.
    • A convincing commitment and motivation to taking on this community and no recent indications to the contrary.
    • Ensured that the mandatory rules of Freegle are being implemented if they already run a community.
    • Acted in ways that could, on the balance of probability, likely bring the name of Freegle into disrepute.
  • Poll for caretaker group applications:
    • Poll on whether it is in the best interests of the community and Freegle to appoint the new volunteer/team taking into the above considerations.
    • If the poll, by a simple majority of those voting, doesn’t agree to the appointment, the community will not be handed over until further discussions have taken place and a new poll is run.
    • Ultimately, if no consensus is reached, a recommendation can be given to the Board that the application is rejected, and the Board will make a decision. The applicant will be advised of the decision and the reason, and also that they have the right to use the Freegle Complaints Procedure.
  • On handover of the community:
    • All volunteers involved in the community will be advised and encouraged to follow Best Practice. Although not mandatory these are nationally agreed recommended ways of working to achieve the best outcomes for volunteers and members.
    • New volunteers to Freegle taking on a community must have a Mentor as backup on their community for 6 months.
    • Experienced Freegle volunteers taking on a community must have a Mentor as backup on their community until they have an experienced and/or active backup volunteer who can regularly moderate, unless no Mentor is available.
    • The Mentor, unless the volunteer(s) request otherwise, should not actively moderate unless messages are being left unmoderated for periods of 24 hours or more.
    • If the Mentor is removed as a volunteer without having appropriate backup arrangements in place, it will be grounds for automatic addition of a backup by the Board, possible disaffiliation or return to caretaker status of a community.
    • The community may at its sole discretion ask the Mentors for the Mentor to be replaced subject to availability.


The Complaints Procedure offers a mediation or appeals process for applicants and/or Freegle volunteers who are unhappy with Mentor or Board decisions.


If a poll is required, it will be for a minimum of 4 days duration, carried by a simple majority of votes.