Voluntary events are incredibly effective when it comes to bringing a community together and increasing social inclusion. Here are some of the key factors to consider when organising one.

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Getting Help and Ideas Organised

Get a good idea of what you want from the event, what it is designed to do and how you ideally want it to look. Consider admission charges versus free entry, entertainment and how many people would likely attend. Put together a working team with an elected leader to oversee meetings and what needs to be done. Develop an in-depth plan of what will happen on the day and spread the word early to encourage volunteers to help.

Next, set an achievable budget that’s realistic given all of the elements involved, and how you are going to raise the funds. Ensure the event is well publicised and make the most of local media and social media.

The Venue

Give due thought to access to the venue, parking and public transport, whether the weather will be an issue, signage and safety. Ensure you keep relevant parties up to date with developments, such as the local businesses or residents who may be nearby, the emergency services or the council.

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It is generally free and legal for a public street to be closed for a community event, so contact the local highway authority and let the local council know of when and where closures would be requested well in advance.

Licences and Safety

While most events won’t need licences or permissions, do check this with local authorities first, especially if entertainment or alcohol are involved. Food safety is important, so you need to comply with the 1995 Food Safety Regulations act and the 1990 Food Safety Act.

If you are raising money for charity, the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising provides guidance.

Do a risk assessment to consider possible safety issues. Rate the likelihood of accidents or fire risks, the potential severity, and what steps could be put in place to prevent them. Event medical cover and outdoor medical solutions should be considered.

You shouldn’t legally need public liability insurance, though your council may recommend it. Private property may be covered by home insurance. Anything you hire, like venues or equipment, may come with cover.