User Led Organisations (ULO) Project

The project works across Hampshire and aims to help User Led Organisations and community groups, as well as individuals setting up new groups, to develop and become self-supporting. We can provide support, advice, training and a range of practical guidance on setting up a new group, finance and funding, sustainability, decision-making and much more!

Group of people having a discussion at one of our networking events

The project works with individuals, groups and communities, including, though not limited to, Black and Minority Ethnic groups, Disabled People, Gypsy and Traveller communities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender groups, Older People and Faith groups.

What we can offer

  • Advice and guidance – by phone, e-mail and via our web pages
  • Supporting and mentoring to help with an organisation’s or group’s development and sustainability
  • Support and training to develop existing skills and learn new skills (e.g. we have run courses on social media; how to obtain funding; and, becoming a constituted organisation)
  • Helping groups to network and exchange ideas, experience and expertise
  • Signposting groups to sources of funding.
  • Helping with organising events

Our Mentoring and advice support is completely FREE to User Led Organisations in Hampshire. You can download a leaflet with more information here

Further Information

To read or download our guidance and information on a range of topics, including funding, setting-up, social media, and developing your organisation or group see our Advice and Guidance resources page.

You can also read an Easy Read leaflet about the ULO Project here: About ULO project Easy Read.docx

What people say about our support and training

As an organisation it’s not only desirable, but some might say a necessity that like-minded groups work together to secure our future. For us, SPECTRUM has gone quite some distance in achieving this. In fact without the help and support of SPECTRUM, we may not have kept going. We would advise anyone who may wish to do similar work or set up a ULO to consult with SPECTRUM and access their wealth of knowledge accumulated over some thirty years. (Director of a local User Led Organisation)

Roger soon helped put things in perspective and gave us information and the confidence to go ahead in developing our own ULO. Roger appears to continue tirelessly in providing support, up to date information and funding signposts. I look forward very much to our continuing relationship with SPECTRUM. (Director of one of the Groups we have helped to get set up)

We know we can pick up the phone or send off an email if there is anything we are unsure of that they may be able to help with or be able to sign-post us to someone else who can. (Founder of one of the Groups we have helped to get set up)

Very interesting and enlightening (Participant at one of our networking events)

Very useful. Picked up quite a bit of information to take away and use (Participant at one of our networking events)

Really useful even with previous experience and knowledge (Participant on our Social Media training course)

A really good insight on how better to apply for funding (Participant on our Applying for Funding training course)

The Hampshire ULO Network Group (HULON)

We have also set up a network group of User Led Organisations from across Hampshire to take forward the work of the ULO project after the project ends.

You can find out more about this group, the benefits of joining the Network, and how you can get involved by visiting Hampshire ULO Network Group.

The members of this group are:

Carers Together Carers Together

Hampshire Neurological Alliance Hampshire Neurological Alliance banner1

Parability Parability

Winchester Area Access for All (WAAFA) WAAFA-3a

You can also sign up to WAAFA’s online Newsletter

Gosport Older People’s Forum gopf

Chrysalis Chrysalis

Hampshire Wellbeing Services CIC HWS_Logo1

Greenbuttercup CIC Green Buttercup

Hampshire Independent Equality Forum (HIEF) HIEF

Disabled People’s Voice Hampshire (DPVH) DPVH

Gosport Access Group and Disability Forum (GAGDF) GOAGDF

All Inclusive CIC All Inclusive

Chatterbox Chatterbox


Get in touch

For more information, please get in touch us

Telephone: 023 8033 0982

Minicom/TypeTalk: 023 8020 2649

Email: [email protected]

Post: ULO Project


SPECTRUM Centre for Independent Living CIC
Unity 12, 9-19 Rose Road

Southampton SO14 6TE

Where can I get funding for my group?

Both your local or County Council or Community Voluntary Services or your Council, library or Citizen’s Advice Bureau can point you in the right direction, and will often have regular lists of available sources of funding. (Click on the map on the Community Action Hampshire homepage to find your nearest CVS). Some funding sources are open to all types of groups but many can only be applied for by legally registered organisations, so check whether you’re eligible before filling in the forms.

You will also find lots of information on different funding sources on the Advice and Guidance for ULOs and community groups page on this web site.


Where can I find transport so that I can get to meetings?

The answer varies depending on where you live. Contact the Transport Departments of your local Council, your local Community Voluntary Services (see above) or Citizen’s Advice Bureau to see what schemes might be available.

What support can you give us in starting up a new User-Led Organisation or group?

We can provide advice on how best to start up, possible local contacts provide back-office support and point you to funding sources, training and events around Hampshire. We can also provide support if you want to develop into a legally constituted organisation (this can open up a wider range of possible funding) then we have experience of helping people with that as well.

What geographical area does the ULO project cover?

Basically, we work with groups and organisations across the whole of Hampshire. However, as the project is funded by Hampshire County Council, we will not be able to allocate financial resources to support work that is exclusive to parts of the county covered by the three Unitary Authorities – i.e. Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton. This restriction does not apply to work that is based in these areas but which also benefits people in other parts of the county.

What is ‘co-production’?

We define ‘co-production’ as an equal partnership that involves Disabled People, Older People, Carers and other groups of service users at every stage in the planning, design and monitoring of policy and services.

What is a User Led Organisation?

User Led Organisations (ULOs) are groups that are run by, and for, people who use (or are potential users of) care and support services. They may be made up of Disabled People with, for example physical or sensory impairments, Older People or Carers or other groups. The critical things that they will have in common are that they are run by themselves in order to represent their own needs and lived experience of the particular forms of disadvantage or exclusion that they face.

The essential criteria for being a ULO project identified include things like being a peer-support based organisation; being run and controlled by users, and driven by the initiative, demand and lived experience of the organisation’s user/membership base; engaging the organisation’s users/members in decision-making processes; being inclusive and avoiding unjustified discrimination, and recognising diversity in terms of race, religion and belief, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age; and, representing people who face disadvantage or exclusion on one or more of these grounds.

Does the Equality Act 2010 apply to our organisation?

If your organisation, community group or charity provides any goods, facilities or services to members of the public then equality law applies to what you do.

It doesn’t make any difference whether the service you provide is free to the client or service user or if people pay towards it. The size of your organisation does not matter either.

Equality law affects everyone responsible for running your organisation or who might do something on its behalf, including staff or volunteers if you have them.

For more detailed information, see the Equality and Human Rights Commission guide – ‘What equality law means for your voluntary or community sector organisation’ – available from the EHRC web site

We are an association, does the Equality Act 2010 apply to us?

Equality law applies slightly differently to associations. An ‘association’ as this is defined by equality law is a membership based voluntary or community sector organisation that:

  • has 25 or more members, and

  • has rules which control how someone becomes a member, involving a genuine selection process such as having to be nominated or approved by other members or having to pass a test

If you think you might be an association, then you should read the Equality and Human Rights Commission guide ‘What equality law means for your association, club or society’ available from the EHRC web site This will tell you what is meant by members, associate members and guests (including prospective members and guests) and how equality law says you must behave towards them.


Our Chief Executive holding our Zero Project award certificate in Vienna



Our Chief Executive, Ian Loynes, collecting a Zero Project Award for the User Led Organisations Project at the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna in February 2015. The finalists for this award were selected by an international panel of experts from a total of over 230 nominations from 58 different countries.