Setting up a New Lighthouse: Timeline

Lighthouse Central will support you every step of the way! We are here to help and will talk you through our Scope of Service so you can see exactly what we offer.

Sow the seeds
Talk to Church Leaders, involve Churches Together, identify people to work together on this exciting project. Lighthouse Central (LHC) can help with presentations, videos etc and will come to any meetings if invited! 

Identify your venue (see Section 6 Your Site)
Think about possible venues for the Lighthouse week and contacts in those venues – we recommend a school and can advise you on what to look for.

Find out what it is actually like!
Come and see an existing Lighthouse in action, LHC will organise visits to a cross-section so you can experience different types and size of sites.


Assuming you are ready to go here's the process:


As soon as you have decided you are going ahead   

1.  Register as a charity (CIO)/Identify Trustees 

  •  Identify potential trustees from across the local churches. You will need at least six trustees and it works best if they are from different churches. This helps hugely with recruitment of helpers and spreads the knowledge base.  
  •  Think about inviting Trustees who have a heart for children and applicable skills - we have church leaders, youth workers, children's workers, teachers, lawyers, accountants...   
  •  Registering as a charity is done online via the Charity Commission website and LHC can do this with you and supply all the necessary documentation - we are now experts after doing a few!  
  • The Statement of Faith for Lighthouse  which includes the Vision, Mission and Objects can be seen here Lighthouse Statement of Faith
  • You will need to have an initial Trustees meeting to agree and sign your LH Constitution, a Trustees Declaration  Trustee Eligibity Declaration Form and go over Trustees roles and areas of responsibility.   
  • The Charity Commission asks that Trustees be made aware of  their document The Essential Trustee  The Essential Trustee

2. Management Structure and Areas of Responsibility 

  •  As well as a Chairman and Treasurer there are other key areas of responsibility, which need to be allocated to the trustees dependent on their areas of expertise.  One person can oversee multiple areas!  The areas marked with an * are optional.  
  •  These are also Leadership roles you need to fill, some can double up depending on your willing volunteers eg: Mainstage and Drama 
  • A key roles spreadsheet is below
  •  Identify a DBS checker, who meets volunteers to check documentation. They will need to sign up as checkers with LHC using this form DBS Checkers Declaration which they should return to director@lighthousecentral.org and we will provide a training document. Details can be found here: Help for DBS Checkers 

Volunteer Co-ordinator


Church Liaison

Finance/ Fund raising


Mainstage Band/music

Discovery (Teaching)




Site Manager/Facilities

Helpers Children


First Aid

Helpers Refreshments

Little Lighthouse*  

Parents Cafe*


The Space
(Special Needs)*



3.    Joining the Family! 

  •  LHC will set you up as a Lighthouse, with pages on the website, database access, passwords for access to the management area of the on line Tool Box, an email account, a logo etc
  • LHC will come and train the admin team on using the database and the text for the basic emails that are part of the automatic process eg: Thank you for Volunteering etc
  •  LHC will train whoever will have access on using the local email accounts       

 4.    Budget/Financial Support 

  •  You will need to set a budget for your Lighthouse, a master template can be downloaded here Budget Template but each Lighthouse will have different costs so please be sure to personalise it to reflect your Lighthouse. 
  •  As soon as you are set up as a CIO you can open a bank account.  So now is the time to contact your supporting churches, as well as other churches in the local area, to ask them to pledge their financial support.  Also look for local grant givers and donors eg: local councils, supermarkets, Rotary, Round Table & similar charitable givers, local businesses. 
  •  When opening the account you will need to identify who the signatories will be, usually the chairman, treasurer and possibly two other trustees. 
  •  The suggested Financial Year runs from 1st October through 30th September.  
  •  There is lots of useful information and downloads available in the Lighthouse Toolbox and also on the government’s website Setting Up a Charity

 5.    Set-up Online Giving and Gift Aid 

  •  Once you have received your charity number you can set-up online giving. This will make donating as easy as possible for your supporters. 
  •  You also need to register your charity with HMRC in order to be able to claim Gift Aid. This can be done online at HMRC Charity Recognition.  REGISTERING FOR GIFT AID and CLAIMING GIFT AID
  • LHC can supply a template for a Gift Aid envelope and a Gift Aid declaration for the website  

 6.    Your Site 

  • Agree your venue and book the date for Lighthouse Week
  • Lighthouse takes place for one week during the school summer holidays. Generally it is held the first full week of the holidays.      
  • To date Lighthouses have been run either in marquees, in schools or more frequently a combination of the two. Choosing a school only is generally cheaper than using marquees.
  • When looking for a venue consider its location, how accessible is it for the children that will be attending, is there sufficient parking for your volunteers AND for parents/carers to drop off and pick up children. 
  • Are there toilets? 
  • Does it have Wifi? 
  • Review the available spaces against the Site space requirements Site Space Requirements to ensure there are sufficient spaces of the right size.  
  • Review the recommended LH Timetable Timetable and discuss any changes with LHC/ your mentoring LH
  • Also check that the age groups have sufficient time to transition between activities. 
  • This is also an opportunity to produce a site plan. Helpers will need a map that indicates where the different activities are taking place. 
  • You will need to Risk Assess your site. LHC can supply a template Risk Assessment for you 
  • LHC will organise Ofsted Exemption for you.  
  • We recommend you make the local police and fire brigade aware of your event and contact your local council to establish whether or not the event requires a licence.     

 7.    Scheduling 

  • All the important dates for the year should be agreed. Trustee meetings should be held regularly and minutes must be taken. 
  • Schedule regular prayer meetings for everyone to attend. 
  • Agree training dates and locations for all helpers usually in June and July. 
  • Confirm the dates of Lighthouse Week not forgetting the Dedication Service, which is held on the Sunday before Lighthouse. 
  • Schedule a de-brief meeting in September and lastly schedule the AGM, usually in November once the accounts have been completed. 
  • You will be able to upload all these dates on your pages of the Lighthouse Central website.   

 8.    Marketing Lighthouse! 

  • Consider scheduling at least two Find Out More information/recruitment events for January or February. Ensure these events are properly planned and thought out. It is important that supporters’ first contact with the Lighthouse brand is confident, organised and effective. LHC are always happy to join you to talk about Lighthouse and answer questions. 
  • Use church resources to advertise Lighthouse is happening and volunteers are needed - newsletters, pew sheets, social media etc
  • Consider printing some flyers to use in Eg: the library, Community buildings, schools, Examples of these can be found here. LHBE A5 Flyer   
  • Can you access secondary schools to hold an assembly and talk about Lighthouse and volunteering? 
  • LHC will set up a dedicated page for your Lighthouse on the www.lighthousecentral.org site and we can advise on Facebook, providing logos etc       

 9.    Website 

  • Each Lighthouse has its own website page/s on the www.lighthousecentral.org page
  •  LHC will need information about the churches that support Lighthouse, how to Donate to your Lighthouse and the Roles you will be looking to fill  

(approximately 5 months before Lighthouse)        

 10. Volunteer registration

  • On line registration will open for Volunteers via the Lighthouse Central website. Encourage everyone who is interested to sign up. This will automatically prompt for two References and DBS information and if required will email details to volunteers of how to apply for a DBS. 
  •  Any volunteer over the age of 16 must have an Enhanced Disclosure Child workforce DBS 
  •  The DBS applications are handled by LHC, there is a cost of £3/application. Each Lighthouse needs a DBS checker who is available to meet with and see documents from a volunteer and sign the DBS application 
  •  Continue with your recruitment events. If possible have laptops/tablets available so you can sign people up at the recruitment events.   

 11.  Theme 

  • The Discovery (teaching) and Mainstage and Drama materials will be available for you to review and share with helpers who will be involved in delivering those three key areas.
  • Whoever you have identified to head up your craft team can start planning crafts that reflect the teaching materials. It is important that items required to create the craft are identified as soon as possible so that any collection lists can go out to the churches.   


MARCH (approximately 4 months before Lighthouse)  

12. Volunteer Role Allocation/Admin tasks 

  • Roles and Age Groups can be allocated on the database, an automatic email is sent confirming the role 
  • Finalise the Volunteer Handbook and send to LHC to upload to website - a template is provided for local personalisation 
  • Identify key roles that are yet to be filled and start targeting individuals with a personal request. 
  • Check that references are in and mark as OK 
  • Chase volunteers who need a DBS and have not started the process   

 APRIL (approximately 3 months before Lighthouse)        

 13.  Admin to be done 

  • By now you will have the majority of your helpers in place. This will enable you to agree the number of children you will take in each age group. 
  • Each Lighthouse Keeper, assisted by two lamplighters, can be responsible for up to 12-15 children dependant on space. 
  • Once the trustees have agreed the number of children in each age group work with Lighthouse Central to agree how many children’s places will be available and enter numbers into database 
  • Discuss and agree any SEN provision so as applications are received, they can be dealt with 
  • Personalise the online emails for the Children’s applications via the database      

 MAY (approximately 2 months before Lighthouse)  

14. Children’s applications open online (May 4th) 

  •  Remind volunteers to register their children 
  •  Each application receives an automatic reply 
  •  The reply asks parents to check they have put the correct DOB, therefore you need to check in your LH email account for any updates and amendments required   

 15.  Insurance 

  •  Will be put in place effective May 1st and covering Lighthouse events all year. 
  • LHC will organise your insurance cover and invoice you. 

JUNE (approximately 1 month before Lighthouse)   

16.  Plan and deliver your Volunteers training sessions   

  •  Offer more than one date and time. In your first year training is imperative and Safeguarding Training must be done EVERY year. 
  •  LHC will provide a training package – Powerpoint and two videos       

17. Merchandise 

  • We ask that all volunteers wear a Lighthouse official red t shirt.  This makes volunteers easily visible on site. 
  • Volunteers can order these when they register.  
  • Volunteers will also need a lanyard and a badge (see Section 20) 
  • Some Lighthouses ask for a donation to cover the cost of the t shirt/lanyard of £5. 
  • LHC bulk buy lanyards and badge holders – all can be ordered via the database 
  • LHC offer additional branded items such as polo shirts, hoodies, zipped hoodies (zoodies!) and t shirts/baseball caps for children, all can be ordered via the database  
  • Please ensure that Lighthouse Central have received your order for t-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts etc, lanyards, shop stock such as kids t shirts and hats. This is all done on line via the Database 
  • Merchandise is bulk delivered direct to the Lighthouse by the supplier 
  • Labels for on line t shirt orders by Volunteers can be printed from the database   

 18.  Children’s places allocation 

  • Volunteer’s children are allocated places first and then places allocated up to the limit set on the database by Age Group 
  • Confirmation email goes out OR a On Waiting List email 
  • SEN places are allocated but the confirmation email is not sent until the Lighthouse confirms it has the facilities in place to accept the child 
  • Each email has a Parents Information Leaflet attached, LHC will provide a template for personalisation 

(nearly Lighthouse!)   

19.  Child tickets and badges 

  • Badges - LHC will supply (via website) pdfs of badges for children to be printed locally, this can either be with a badge printer or onto paper that can be inserted into a plastic holder that goes on a lanyard 
  • LHC can print badges at a cost of £0.25/badge 
  • Tickets - Each child has tickets with a bar code, one ticket is for scanning in and one out for each day ie 10 tickets on one page! 
  • An email is sent from the database to parents with their children’s tickets (if the Lighthouse has selected this option) and the parents’ information booklet as pdf files for them to print at home.  
  • Lighthouses can download and print paper tickets rather than email if this is preferred. 
  • NOTE: LHC recommend you ask parents to collect tickets from the site the weekend before, opportunity to meet, deal with any issues, get volunteers to collect t shirts, open the shop to sell t shirts and caps for kids to the parents 

 20.  Volunteers badges

  • LHC will supply (via website) pdfs of all volunteer badges to be printed locally, this can either be with a badge printer or onto paper that can be inserted into a plastic holder that goes on a lanyard 
  • LHC can print badges at a cost of £0.25/badge       

21.  Miscellaneous tasks 

  • Refuel: As part of the morning worship (ReFuel) for the helpers it is good to have different speakers give a ten-minute motivational talk. Ask people that you think would be good in this role to book themselves in!   
  • Signage: It is important that the site is well sign posted. This will enable people who are not familiar with the site to find their way around. Ensure you have signs for activities, toilets, First Aid, parking and registration. Ensure that Prohibited Areas are clearly identified. Signs should be laminated or vinyl so they can be used in subsequent years 
  • Music: LHC can suggest the most loved tracks over the years, we also have our own You Tube channel with action videos, lyrics etc Lighthouse YouTube site 
  • The Dedication service is on the Sunday afternoon before Lighthouse. This is a final opportunity for teams to meet up and for any final questions to be answered. 
  • It is nice to thank the helpers on Friday. Many Lighthouses have a closing service and a BBQ. Some delay this until Sunday for a big celebration service in a church!    

22.  Lighthouse week 

  • Enjoy every minute! 


 23.  They think it’s all over…not quite

  • September  - Host a debrief meeting and ensure all area co-ordinators are invited. A feedback questionnaire is available via the Database that can emailed to all volunteers and parents of children who attended. This feedback can then be used to improve next years Lighthouse. 
  • Remind all helpers to send in any expense claims before the end of the month as 30th September is the financial year end. 
  • October  - the treasurer should produce the accounts and have them audited. Once the Accounts have been audited and approved at the AGM they can be uploaded to the Charity Commission website. This is also a good time to complete the Charity Commission Annual Return. 
  • Hold an AGM - a great opportunity to share how successful Lighthouse was.  The Chairman and Treasurer will present their reports.