Events for All Stoke-on-Trent

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Events for All Stoke-on-Trent A guide to planning community events

Feel at home in your community in Stoke-on-Trent


welcome... ... to Events for All, an events planning guide for community and voluntary groups based in Stoke-on-Trent. In this guide you’ll find suggestions and ideas that are designed to help you run an enjoyable and well-organised event. There are useful contacts, checklists, timetables and templates, which should provide a good starting point for anyone planning an event. Who is this guide for? Anyone wanting to organise either small or medium scale community events. Community groups often want to promote what they do, fundraise, increase their reach or just have fun. A picnic with friends is easy to organise but a community fun day is more complicated and needs more planning. Community events should be open for everyone to enjoy and all should feel that they are welcome and can participate. However, research has found that, ‘… publicly funded arts, culture and heritage, supported by tax and lottery revenues, are predominantly accessed by an unnecessarily narrow social, economic, ethnic and educated demographic that is not fully representative of the UK’s population’ (Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth, Warwick Commission, 2015). This is as true for Stoke-on-Trent as it is for any other area. While not all community events are funded from the public purse, organisations and individuals have still given their hard won/earned money and deserve an event which appeals to all. This guide aims to help community groups to think about how to make sure that everyone can enjoy the events and activities they put on. There are many guides which advise organisers about disability access (see Appendix 1). This guide does not intend to replicate their excellent work. While absolutely supporting the need for access for disabled people, Events for All focusses on wider involvement.



Getting organised action planning, consultation


Programming entertainment, music, activities


Money matters budgets, finance


Case Study Shelton Parent Time


Permissions licensing, insurance


Case Study Cobridge Fun Day


Health and safety site planning


Publicity flyers, press releases


Case Study London Road Festival


Top tips Factsheets


• Funding application

Sheet 1


• Working with volunteers

Sheet 2


• Site planning

Sheet 3


• Identifying the hazards

Sheet 4


• Risk assessment

Sheet 5


Useful contacts


appendix 1





getting organised Planning, timing and involving local people Identify an events committee The first step to getting organised is forming an events committee. This allows a dedicated group to plan the event and divide up tasks. The committee can be a subgroup of your organisation and can include other local people and interested parties such as tenants’ associations, schools and community groups. Try and meet at least once a month initially and every two to three weeks in the two months before the event. Always have an agenda and minute taker. One person should be identified as Events Manager in overall charge of the event.

TIPS FORMING A COMMITTEE Contact all sections of the community. Don’t be exclusive, be inclusive! Get a good balance between men and women, age range, skills, and abilities. Try and ensure ethnic and social diversity. Don’t go overboard with the number of people. Less is more when it comes to committees. Start action planning Identify and prioritise all the tasks that need to be done before, during and after the event. Develop an action plan listing all the tasks, who will be doing them and by when (see sample in Table 1).

Consultation If you intend to apply for public funds it helps to demonstrate that your event has strong community support and involvement. Research and evaluate other events - what worked and what didn’t - to avoid repeating mistakes. Find out what local people want and discuss your ideas. You could: • call a meeting • speak to people informally • send out a questionnaire • contact local community groups Becoming an organisation The basic requirements of most funding bodies are that an organisation should have a formal constitution/set of rules and a management committee with Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. This structure will enable you to open a bank account. For more information contact Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent (VAST) on 0300 303 8606.

table 1 What?



Contact Stoke-on-Trent Parks and Open Spaces Team

John Smith

Phone call

Contact Stoke-on-Trent Licensing Team

Safiyya Ahmed


By When? 20th Nov

26th Nov

Done? Y/N Partial (P)



Park is available


Temporary events licence paperwork received


TIPS organisation If your group is not formally constituted, you could link up with another organisation that is, and organise the event together or ask them to be the fund holder and accept grants on your behalf.


Programming the 5 ws... Why? Who? What? Where? When? Why and Who? Think about what you want the event to achieve. It’s helpful to set a specific goal and be clear about who your target audience is e.g. ‘I am organising a family fun day on the housing estate targeting all residents’. What? Attracting people to your event is down to having a good range of activities, entertainment and successful promotion. Where? Most outdoor events take place in public parks or streets. Ensure all events are accessible to everyone. There are a number of excellent guides about disability access (see Appendix 1). When? If you are planning on having a summer event in Stoke-on -Trent it’s advisable to book at least 6 months in advance. Choose start and finish times and a day that is right for your participants (e.g. weekends, school holidays). Also check for clashes with other local events and major public events such as football matches and religious activities. The summer is the busiest time of the year for outdoor events in Stoke-on-Trent parks so be flexible with dates. Check these websites for events:

Entertainment Discuss a list of suitable activities and entertainment, get some quotes and see if they fit in the budget. If you say your event is open to all the community, you need to think about how this will be done. Will there be activities available for young and older people alike, for people from different cultural groups? Where do I find entertainers? • contact Creative Stoke who have a directory of creative people in the city • go to local areas and see people perform before booking them • refer to local newspapers and Yellow Pages • contact B-Arts who can advise you on artists and creative people in the area • word of mouth Music programming The range of possibilities is huge and depends on your target audience. What works best for small community events may not necessarily be cutting edge. Your programme may need to appeal to anyone from 1-101. Ensure that there is a range of music that reflects the diversity of the community. Check with the Stoke-on-Trent Licensing Team to see if you require any authorisation or licence to provide your proposed entertainment: 01782 232774 or email



• •

• • •

invite the Lord Mayor, local councillor, MP, celebrity, or the oldest/youngest person, to open the event and present any raffle prizes have a good MC to introduce acts and make announcements allocate the role of PA/sound engineer and ensure they oversee all the equipment and playing of recorded music have a stage manager who ensures that acts run to time don’t have any band play longer than 30 minutes have a DJ, local poet or comedian ready to perform during the changeover

• •

allow 20 minutes changeover between acts if you have a well-known band put them on two hours before the end or have the DJ play a wind down set 30-45 minutes before the end • if you’re playing recorded music, keep a written running order • consider running any electrical equipment, including stages and sound systems, on renewable energy, see information on page 22 • avoid strobe lights, as they are not appropriate for people with epilepsy

8 Programming

food Food is a really important factor in community events. It is essential that it is appropriate to the community you are serving. Hog roasts have become popular but should not be the only food offered, particularly in areas where there are significant Muslim, Jewish or Seventh-Day Adventist communities. Have plenty of vegetarian and/or vegan options and you will ensure that the catering is suitable for most people. Be sensitive to the needs of people who have food intolerances – label food carefully.

Activities Children • arrange a series of different activities e.g. bouncy castle, inflatable maze, storytelling, puppet theatre, face painting, henna hand painting, arts and crafts • ensure the children’s area has a risk assessment and all suppliers/artists have insurance • ensure inflatables are adequately stewarded at all times, are properly secured and any power source barriered • remember anyone working with children and young people should have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, particularly if they are working alone – this includes people like face painters and bouncy castle supervisors • keep the children’s area fenced off at all times and away from roads • a marquee will provide cover from rain and sun • consider disclaimer signs saying ‘This is a family area and children should be supervised by parents/carers at all times’ • run a crèche if needed with approved workers to look after small children for limited periods • ask local Children’s Centres, nurseries or community centres if they can provide people to help • ensure that there is a toilet near the children’s area

Older People • involve older people from local community groups, sheltered housing and day centres in planning activities • ensure that there is adequate seating at your event • reserve some seats and tables near food stalls • ensure there are accessible toilets close to older people’s activities • older people with mobility difficulties may require transport • offer carers’ respite if the older people you are inviting are likely to have caring responsibilities (there are many older people looking after frail relatives or friends) • all publicity should have a minimum font size of 14pt • again, ensure anyone working with older people has a DBS check

Young People • involve young people in planning and producing their activity in advance • you could arrange a disco, DJ workshops or art workshops

consider organising a sports tournament. Check with Stoke-on-Trent Sport and Leisure Services Team on 01782 238866 or Engage Communities who specialise in sporting activities for young people across the city 01782 769226 or • local football clubs may be happy to supply coaching • be aware of antagonisms and/or rivalry between various young people. Check with local play, youth and community workers and always have supervision of any young people’s activities.

The table below is a step-by-step guide to the jobs you need to complete. This is just an example, so you can copy it but be sure to adjust the timescale and jobs depending on the size of your event e.g. a small fun day will not require planning one year ahead.

9 table 2 Time

9-12 months ahead










1 month later


Whose job?

Start to organise: appoint steering committee

Informal group

Event themes: what is the event’s goal and who is it for? Programme the event

Steering committee

Share out the main jobs/roles. These are: event manager, fundraiser, publicity, entertainment, stalls co-ordinator, site manager, volunteer co-ordinator etc

Steering committee

Find a site

Event Manager

Initial talk with Parks, Play Areas and Open Spaces Team

Event Manager

Start talking to local community groups about getting involved

Event Manager

Do a rough budget - one budget based on getting no public funds and one where you do

Event Manager/ Fundraiser

Start raising money locally and apply for any grants that may be available


Prepare licence application and send it off

Event Manager

Do a site plan, risk assessment, operating schedule

Event Managert/ Site Manager

Check for artists’ availability and price - make provisional bookings

Entertainment Co-ordinator

Talk to local police community support officer

Entertainment Co-ordinator

Check availability of major hires: PA, tents, generators, portable toilets, barriers, bouncy castles

Event Manager

Confirm that you have been granted a licence or don’t need one

Event Manager

Confirm funding from local authority/other sources


Confirm booking of artists and send off contracts

Entertainment Co-ordinator

Prepare a detailed, balanced budget


Confirm bookings of major hires

Event Manager

Start contacting potential stallholders

Stalls Co-ordinator

Organise insurance cover for the event

Event Manager

Confirm stallholders and their responsibilities on site

Stalls Co-ordinator

Recruit volunteers and book professional security

Event Manager

Design and print flyers and posters

Marketing person

Get flyers distributed (up to 6 weeks before) and posters put up (2 weekends before the event)

Marketing person

Send out press release and community information

Marketing person

Check on all key items: major hires, entertainers, stalls, catering

Event Manager

Organise team of litter pickers for the clean up

Event Manager

Arrange for extra bins and recycle bins to be ordered

Event Manager

Draw up a timetable. Ensure relevant licensing authorisations are on display

Event Manager

Organise a debrief/social for everyone involved. Discuss accounts, show videos and photos. Say thanks to the team.



Money matters Getting it, spending it and saving it Budgets Before you ask anyone for money you have to prepare a budget. • base your budget on real quotes, don’t guess funders will see through it • the budget has to balance. Work out how much money you need on the day and for deposits for equipment hire • always allow for a contingency of about 5% of the total expenditure for emergencies and unexpected payments

table 3 Type of Expenditure PA System Generators Stage Barriers and fencing Professional security Stalls hire Chairs Performers expenses/fees Hire of walkie talkies Toilets Licence fee Public Liability Insurance First aid Fire extinguishers, blanket Publicity: flyers, newspapers, printing Waste collection Children’s activities Stationery Telephone bill Transport costs Staffing costs e.g. production manager for larger events Volunteer expenses Contingency (5%)


Cost £

keep a petty cash float handy, recording expenditure and keeping receipts • allocate the responsibility for making payments and handling petty cash on the day of the event to two people who will keep each other accountable for payments Draw a table with two columns: type of expenditure and cost. Identify each item of expenditure and its cost. NB: This table is just an example. Make a similar table with the income you are bringing in.

table 4 income sources Grants Donations Raffle ticket sales Stall hire


amount £


TIPS finance If you are having several bands, consider hiring a ‘backline’, basic pieces of equipment they all can use e.g. drum kit, guitar amplifiers. This minimises the amount of equipment on site and cuts down on changeover times. Bands should be informed at the booking stage if you are providing this.

12 money matters

Swap, borrow, hire, buy Before you buy or hire anything, see what you can have for free, what you can borrow and what you can exchange. Share resources and buy only as a last resort. Paying for hires and services Agree the terms in writing, setting out the time, date, location (with a map if necessary), and exactly what will be supplied. Most major hirers will require a deposit with the balance payable after the event. All equipment suppliers must show you copies of their public liability insurance and statements for installation e.g. stages and PAs (always ask for an invoice and/or receipt). Booking and paying artists • start booking performers as early as you can as popular local artists can get booked up quickly • issue a contract to artists. Here is a link to a number of sample contracts https: // artist-contract • request technical details in advance and ask for a stage plan – do they need a PA, how many microphones etc? • inform artists about parking rules in advance and allocate stewards to assist artists with carrying equipment to the stage Stall bookings • set stall hire fees: check what other events charge. You would normally charge more for a commercial food stall (e.g. falafel stall) or no charge for a local community group displaying information • 2-3 months ahead send stall booking forms with a deadline to be returned a month before the event • 1 month before – all stalls should be confirmed together with a list of conditions (health and safety, parking and insurance) and a deposit paid

Funding your event Grants As a starting point, you can perform a search for funding using the database Grantnet which is a free to use service from Grantfinder which helps small businesses, charitable and community groups to find suitable funding. www. VAST can also direct you to appropriate funding sources. For more advice on fundraising see Top Tips Factsheet 1. Sponsorship • raising money through sponsorship is not easy and can be time consuming - weigh up the pros and cons to see if it’s worth it • target local businesses but remember that large firms will be inundated with applications • include sponsors’ logos on publicity material and credit them during announcements at the event • instead of giving money, sponsors can help with admin costs (e.g. photocopying) and donate equipment or prizes Volunteers and donations Your most valuable resources are people’s time, skills, facilities, equipment, materials and refreshments provided for free. Your local newsagent, shops and banks are a good place to start. Ask the manager, and demonstrate that there is something in it for them (usually publicity). For information on recruiting volunteers, see Top Tips Factsheet 2.


TIPS finance •

don’t bank on getting all the grant money you request. It’s a good idea to plan a fallback position to have a smaller event just in case. cash flow – keep a minimum amount of money at all times; don’t be in the red

How to self-FInance • charge stallholders for the hire of the pitch • local organisations/businesses advertising in your programme for a fee • bucketing: taking a bucket around the event on the day asking for donations (wearing a costume and a big smile helps)


case study

shelton parent time


The Parent Time group meets at Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre in Shelton. They organise coffee mornings, fun days and other events. The aim of their events is to strengthen the local community and promote harmony through the shared goal of joining in exciting arts, entertainment and educational activities open to all. Through their commitment to organising inclusive events, they have been invited to partner with or support other organisations such as the Mitchell Arts Centre, Gingerbread, the 1000 Lives Network, Green Door, Arch, B-Arts and Appetite. The key to ensuring inclusivity is that the organising team knows the area well, understands the needs of local people and is made up of members from a wide range of cultural, ethnic and faith backgrounds.

top TIPS •

create partnerships with other existing groups (e.g. community groups, local council) to help deliver activities, share resources and expertise to create a really diverse event

advertise for volunteers well in advance and agree a special bonus (food, vouchers, t-shirts) for those who stay to help clear up

make local residents aware of your plans by inviting them to a meeting or going directly to talk to them


permissions Making sure your event is legal Public Entertainment Licence The Stoke-on-Trent Licensing Team is responsible for licensing regulated entertainment and alcohol. If you want to provide any of the following as part of your event, you may need a licence to do so: live or recorded music, dancing by performers or members of the public, karaoke, plays, showing films or videos or indoor sports. The Stoke-on-Trent Licensing Team can advise you on whether your event will require a licence.

The Licensing Process Temporary Event Notice (TEN) These notices are for events where ‘licensable activities’ are planned, but no premises licence or club premises certificate is held. They allow premises to be used for licensed activities on a one-off basis. The TEN is for events that last for up to 168 hours and involve no more than 499 people. The notice must be sent to the local authority at least 10 working days before the day of the event. Copies must be sent to the Council’s Licensing Authority.

other permissions

Landowner Identify the owner of the venue and ask for their permission in writing at least 2 months in advance. See ‘Using a Stokeon-Trent Park’ on page 20. If you want to use an open space on a housing estate contact Housing Services and the Tenant Involvement Team on 01782 235916 or email For a street event contact the Highways Team on 01782 237061 or email Lottery (including raffles) Licence All Small Society Lotteries require registration under the Gambling Act 2005. The Small Society Lottery registration is mainly for charitable purposes. Registration is needed when your organisation intends to sell printed raffle tickets in advance of the date on which the draw will take place. Non-commercial lottery You can also raise funds by running an incidental noncommercial lottery for which no permit or registration is required. These types of lotteries are exempt from registration if: • no proceeds from the event will be used for private gain • the lottery is promoted wholly for a charitable purpose or good cause • the promoters of the lottery will not be deducting more than £500 from the proceeds in respect of the cost of prizes • the promoters of the lottery will not be deducting more than £100 from the proceeds in respect of

the cost of other expenses • there will be no lottery roll over • tickets will only be sold during the event and on the premises where the event is being held • the results will be made public while the event is taking place For more details or for a registration form contact the Licensing Team on 01782 232774 or Charity bucket collections Any event wishing to make charity bucket collections will need to get a licence for this from the Licensing Team 01782 232774 or e-mail The application needs to be made at least 28 days before the start of the event. Road Closures For events which may involve closing the road e.g. street party, contact Stoke-on-Trent Highways Team on 01782 237061 or email Four to twelve weeks’ notice is needed to process an application. Site clearance As an event manager, the law requires you to make sure waste is disposed of in a responsible way. Waste collection can be arranged by contacting the Cleansing and Environmental Enforcement Team on 01782 234234.


18 permissions

Performing Rights Society licence (PRS) Wherever you want to stage a live event, you will need to obtain the correct licence. This should be done before the event. A PRS licence is required for the live performance or public playing of copyright music by any means including jukeboxes, CD, DVD, radio, TV or live bands and discos. The owner of the copyright (usually the composer or their publisher) is entitled, by law, to payment from the music user (known as royalties). The PRS has introduced a discount scheme for charity and community events, allowing organisers to apply for a discount in return for advertising of PRS for Music’s support at the event. Contact the Performing Rights Society on 0800 068 48 28 or

a damage deposit may be asked for events in parks - make sure this is covered in an all risks insurance policy • check whether the venue already has insurance and covers additional tools, equipment, costumes or props brought in for the event • if you employ any staff, you must have employers’ liability insurance, and volunteers should be covered for their activities • employers also have a legal requirement to ensure that all motor vehicles used by the organisation have the correct insurance For more advice contact your insurance company directly.

Phonographic Performance Ltd licence (PPL) This is needed for the public playing of original sound recordings. PPL represent the record companies who own the copyright in the recording. There is a fee for both the PPL and the PRS licence and in most circumstances you will need both. Contact PPL directly for advice 020 7534 1000 or

Using a stoke-on-trent Park Stoke-on-Trent is one of the greenest cities in the UK with over 1,380 hectares of park and open spaces. You need to apply for permission to hold an event or run an activity in any Stoke-onTrent park. Even if you are planning a large picnic or gathering for your community group, it is advisable to contact the Parks, Play Areas and Open Spaces Team who have produced a very helpful Event Guidance Manual for Park Venues.

Insurance Public liability is to insure against claims for accidental bodily injury or damage to property of ‘third parties’ like the general public. It is essential for any event. Some venues require proof of a minimum level of cover (£5 million is often advised nowadays but it can go up to £10 million or more depending on size of event and size of venue). Things to consider: • equipment can be insured through the hire company, but it is worth obtaining quotes for an all risks cover policy as it may work out cheaper

They will also provide event application forms uk/parks. You can contact the team on 01782 234234 or email Complete the event application form in the required timescale, provide a risk assessment and draw a plan of the event site, detailing the area you are responsible for and showing the layout of the activities taking place. When planning an event the following notice should be provided:

Event Type





Event Size

0 – 199

200 - 500

500 – 10,000


Refer to Safety Advisory Group (SAG)

As required



Notice Required

2 Months

2 Months

3 Months


6 Months



case study

Cobridge Community Group

Cobridge Community Group organises events which bring together all sections of the local community to enjoy each other’s company, share food and learn new skills. Building on experience of previous community events, including pop-up parties in local parks, the group planned a fun day at the Territorial Army Centre. Partner organisations joined in the fun: Staffordshire Police, Youth Service and Engage Communities. There was a nominal entrance fee. About 500 people of all ages and backgrounds came to the event. Activities included wall climbing, community art, information stands, mehndi, face painting, bouncy castle and sports. Through the relationships developed over time in the community twenty volunteers signed up for the event including young people who helped to set up, run activities and act as stewards - a great learning opportunity for them.


top TIPS • • •

allocate adequate time for publicity, including targeting the local community and local papers allow adequate time for fundraising and forward planning always have a plan B for everything


health and safety A safe event is a happy event It is important to contact the Stoke Safety Advisory Group (SAG) if you expect more than 200 people to attend, although smaller events may need the involvement of the SAG depending on the event. The Group meets regularly to jointly consider forthcoming events and to give advice to organisers. You can contact SAG on 01782 235104. Emergency services Police Contact your local Police Community Support Officer to inform them in advance about the type of event you are planning. If the event will disrupt traffic, e.g. street parade, they can advise about the route. On open-air sites they will generally supply low-key patrols in case of emergencies. Check if there is a fee for this. Fire and Ambulance Services Inform them in writing and invite them to the event. Professional first-aiders may be needed on site. St John Ambulance and Red Cross may be able to help for a fee. St John: Red Cross: Site planning The layout of the site should be determined by health and safety, noise, pollution and common sense. Contact Stoke-on-Trent Parks, Play Areas and Open Spaces Team for maps of outdoor spaces: 01782 234 234 or email Equipment Here is a basic checklist of equipment: • Stages: Must be of sound construction, covered to protect from wet weather, offer a good view for the audience and face in a direction where sound will not interfere with local residents. No flammable materials should be stored under or near the stage. • Marquees, canopies and tents: Can be expensive to hire. All temporary fabric based structures must have a fire certificate.

• Portaloos: See toilet quotas on page 32. • Barriers: Crowd barriers are recommended to define children’s area, stage area, BBQ and stalls. Fence off generators and back stage areas. • Generators: If there is no power supply on site, you’ll need a generator to power the PA. Store fuel in a barriered area away from the stage. Investigate using a solar powered generator. All generators and power supplies should be installed by trained operators/electricians. • Public Address system: Keep the PA on a flat, dry surface; avoid contact with the ground in case of rain. • Market stalls: Standard stalls with frames for wet weather cover are available for hire or you could borrow tables from a local school. As a booking condition stallholders must not bring petrol generators to the site and barbecues should be fenced off. Issue rubbish bags and chairs or ask them to bring their own. • Recycling and litterbins: Ensure enough bins are placed near to food stalls this will mean less litter picking at the end of the day. • Water: Check what water supplies are available on site and whether they are suitable for drinking or hand washing. Make sure there is enough drinking water for stewards and artists. If there is no water on site ask stallholders to bring their own. • Fire extinguishers: Should be placed near to power sources (CO2) and cooking areas (dry powder). It is recommended that all events have one or two (dependent on size) fire points. These should have water, CO2 extinguishers, a fire blanket and should be signed and staffed by trained stewards. See Top Tips Factsheet 3: Site Planning page 32


24 heAlth and safety

Vehicles Minimise vehicle movement across the site and prevent movement once members of the public arrive. If vehicles must come on site during opening hours they should be walked in and out by stewards. Designate routes for emergency vehicles through barriers and gates. For larger events, have stewards staffing emergency routes and keep them clear at all times. Communications There should be a central information point for event staff. Walkie-talkie radios are a necessity for key personnel and security and keep a list of their mobile phone numbers in the event of emergency. There should be at least one megaphone available in the event of power failure. Signs Ensure entrances and exits are accessible and clearly signed. There should be a clearly signed first aid post, toilets, children’s area and information point, which could double up as a central communications area. Emergency Plans The emergency plan is put into operation if a major incident occurs. Have a security briefing with the main crew shortly before the start of the event to ensure they know all key areas of the site, check radios, emergency procedures and give last instructions. Designate an emergency officer with overall responsibility for implementing emergency plans. This could involve the evacuation of the site caused by serious crowd trouble, fire or flooding. Use special code phrases for emergency announcements. It is advisable to agree procedures with the police for reporting theft, racial incidents, sexual offences and violent behaviour. In the event of a major incident the police will take over control from the event’s designated emergency officer. Stewards There should be dedicated, fully briefed stewards, 1 per 50 people minimum.

Food Ensure food and drink reflect the diversity of the community and promote healthy eating. Ensure there is plenty of vegetarian food available. All caterers should have an original food hygiene certificate with them. Stoke-on-Trent’s Environmental Health Team can offer advice about specific requirements. 01782 232065 or Further reading • Home Office Good Practice Safety Guide: for small and sporting events taking place on the highway, roads and public places • Running an Event Safely /event-safety/ Risk Assessment The principles of risk management require that you anticipate all hazards involved in a proposed event and the potential for harm, then try to prevent them or minimise them using a structured approach – the risk assessment. There are always risks involved, even for a small event. It is essential that you assess risks and put in place measures to prevent injury or harm to people. The recording of risk assessments enables an event organiser to demonstrate that risks have been evaluated and that appropriate ‘protective and preventative measures’ have been put in place. Area and event risk assessments should be conducted for: • all major areas of the event: e.g. stages, car park, children’s area etc. • all major groups of participants at the event: e.g. stalls, workshops, catering etc. • for any individual participants that pose a particular risk. For more information see Top Tips Factsheets 4 and 5 on pages 33 and 34


top TIPS Issue all performers and stallholders with directions and a simple site plan. Always check vehicle access and parking with the Parks, Play Areas and Open Spaces Team. No vehicles should be allowed access after the site is open to the public. During set up/take down the maximum speed limit should be 5mph with a steward walking in front of vehicles.


publicity You’ve planned a great event, so spread the word targeting audiences Think about who you wish to attract to your event. How much space do you have? How many people can you cope with? Design your publicity materials accordingly. Flyers Flyposting is illegal. You can however put posters up on notice boards in libraries, parks, tenant and resident association notice boards and other community venues with permission. • flyers (leaflets) should be easy to read without too much information • good graphics and/or photographs help • make sure the flyer states a contact number, email and/or website as well as the date and place of event • check what graphic design resources you have available (e.g. member of your volunteer force) or try a local designer for help • you could run a competition at local schools or colleges who run marketing courses to produce the best design • ask permission of venues to display your posters and flyers. You can reach people where they are likely to gather: community centres places of worship, schools, youth clubs, adventure playgrounds, playgroups, hairdressers, launderettes, supermarkets, post offices, cafes, lifts • try to use e-flyers as much as possible to cut down on cost and paper use. Print flyers on recycled paper. Mailing Lists Use local resources for a mass distribution of flyers to local residents and community groups. For example, check if your local community centre has a mail out. Arrange for flyers or notices to be inserted in mailings or newsletters in your local area. Press release A press release is an announcement of your event to the media. Obtain a list of local media contacts. It is always

top TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR EVENTS ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE Try to reduce the environmental impact of your event as much as possible: • use renewable energy providers wherever possible • consider how visitors will get to and from the event – ensure that your publicity material contains details of the nearest bus stops • free cycle route maps are available by phoning 01782 232066 or e-mailing • encourage the use of recycled, reclaimed, environmentally friendly products • consider closing the event early enough to clear up while it is still light, so that you don’t need to hire in lighting • after the event, remember to take down all publicity material promptly and recycle

worth contacting key media outlets a few days before the event to remind and tell them of late breaking news. The press release should contain the following information: date, location, what is planned, special guests. Stunts/Photocall Good photos always help obtain publicity. Describe what will take place on a press release e.g. children’s performance. If you would like press coverage after the event, arrange a photo call for a specified duration when you know something key will be taking place (e.g. Lord Mayor’s speech). Timings Press Release Depending on the size of your event you may want to do two press releases. The first should be sent 1-2 months before the event. Second press release 1-2 weeks before event. Flyers and posters Flyers should go out six weeks before the event. Posters should go up two weekends before the event. Social Media Make sure to communicate your event via Facebook and Twitter. The message will get around much more quickly if you include photos and flyers. You can also include links to sponsors and performers websites. Remember to put your website address, FB page or Twitter feed on all publicity.


top TIPS Don’t forget that all your publicity material should credit your event’s funders, sponsors and partners. Use logos to save space.

tips free listings • publicise your event in council publications, libraries, community newsletters, free newspapers and distribute flyers at other community events • add your event on Stoke-on-Trent Council’s website for free: leisure/events/


case study

london road festival

Marg Hardcastle, Festival Organiser, talks about her experiences: As a local community association we had organised several ‘family fun days’ which included the usual features: bouncy castle, face-painting, food and a band. But at one of our committee meetings on a dark November evening I said, ‘Let’s do something different. Let’s hold the first London Road Festival!’ London Road is a 1½ mile main road and hundreds of people travel along it every day so I thought it would be great to centre a festival on such a prominent road. The aim was to bring together a broad mix of music and creative arts for people to enjoy during a weekend event. We worked in partnership with local arts organisation B-Arts and they helped us to shape the idea of an ‘Open Air Gallery’ through which London Road would be transformed into a huge art gallery. We received funding from the Arts Council, appointed artists and organised workshops. Through planning the first London Road Festival we learned new skills in organising arts events. It was an enjoyable and positive learning curve to be on – developing skills we already had. Over the years we also learned what didn’t work so well and valued the feedback people gave us. We have now held four London Road Festivals. One recommendation I would offer to people thinking of organising larger events is to ensure that there are detailed written plans and budgets which can be reviewed and shared with the team. I’d also like to say give it a go! That bright idea you’ve had can become a reality.




Funding Applications for Community Events

Eligibility • read guidance notes carefully to see if your project meets the criteria • check the closing date (if there is one) and the estimated time it will take to assess your application. Does this fit within your timescale? • is someone local about to apply to the same funder for a similar project? Try to find out and consider working in partnership • do you need to find a proportion of your costs – match funding – as part of the conditions of the grant? Can some or all of this be in kind? • try contacting the funder to briefly discuss your project • increasingly funders expect you to provide evidence of need or interest in your project. Consider how you will produce this and how long it will take • identify an appropriate person to act as a referee if needed The Application Most funders are looking for something a bit different. Consider how you can make your project stand out against the thousands of other applications. Describing your project: • go through the application form and criteria to find out what the funder requires - some like short and sharp responses, others are quite happy with more text • if the form is electronic be aware that some do not allow you to save a draft • be concise and clear about your aims, objectives, intended outcomes and who and how many people will benefit from the project. • you may need to do some additional research to prove the need for the project e.g. census and other demographic information often held by the City Council • outcomes are changes and results created by the project so make sure you have achievable and reasonable outcomes as your application may be marked down otherwise

• many funders will want to know what the longterm benefits are or ideas of how the project could continue so think about how activities that start at your event could be developed further Budget See example table on page 10. Make sure that it is realistic and covers all costs and remember to include VAT if appropriate. Items such as: • artists’ fees • premises cost – including hire fee, insurance, licences • equipment – stage, PA system, diesel generator, stalls • publicity including printing leaflets • postage, stationery, photocopying, telephone bill • activities, refreshments, transport, volunteer expenses, stewards • events manager – if you intend to employ someone to organise the event, unless they are working on a contract or consultant basis you need to include Employers’ National Insurance Many funders will not accept a contingency so you need to cover all elements of your project. Keep a note of your calculations. Most application forms do not allow for a detailed budget. Produce a detailed spreadsheet/table as it makes amending your budget easier. Attach this to the application form. Finishing Off Make sure that you have answered all the relevant questions and have supplied all the required information (funders often provide a checklist). Ask someone with experience of writing application forms to check it makes sense and if there are any unanswered questions etc. Remember to keep a copy and to send one to your referees.


TOP TIPS FACTSHEET 2 Working with Volunteers

Recruit volunteers from the local area, as local people will be more interested in getting involved in an event that benefits their community. Advertise for volunteers in community centres, youth projects, schools, colleges, community groups, doctors/dental surgeries, libraries, shops and the Internet. How can volunteers help? Volunteers can act as stewards at an event, help at the stage area, assist with music, stand at entrances, staff the children’s area and run information stalls. When working with volunteers • interview volunteers. Ask for informal references and have some people on standby for volunteering in case of dropouts • invite volunteers to event committee meetings and hold at least one briefing session with all volunteers before the event • reimburse volunteers’ agreed out of pocket expenses (this may include travel, meal, childcare, caring and subsistence expenses) • identify a volunteer supervisor to create roles for each volunteer, ensure a rota system is in place for breaks and provide support to the volunteers • confirm that liability insurance specifically covers volunteers • ensure that volunteers have had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, particularly if they are working with young people under 18 and/or vulnerable adults. Don’t just rely on a DBS check, trust your instincts • for large events give walkie talkie radios to key volunteers/stewards so that you can always keep in contact. Make sure batteries are charged How to keep your volunteers motivated • plan regular breaks • don’t allocate tasks to volunteers that no-one else wants to do. Share out activities such as litter picking • give plenty of motivation • have different levels of activity throughout the day e.g. the person who puts up the stage in the morning can spend the rest of the day sitting down at an info stall

• don’t overburden your volunteers or allocate jobs you should do yourself! • hold a thank you celebration at the end of the event for your volunteers to show how much you appreciate their hard work Volunteers and the law It is important to understand which rules and regulations are relevant to the volunteering activities you are organising. There are a number of free information sheets available from Volunteering England:

top TIPS Don’t underestimate the number of volunteers needed for the children’s area. If possible ask parents, local nursery or Children’s Centre for support.



Site Planning

Visualise your event Think of all the planned activities and the resources to use and draw a plan of your event. Include: • power sockets (amplified sound, computers, recharge phones) • production area (where events valuables are located: cash, radios, contact lists, insurances, certificates, licences, etc.) • tables • chairs • stage(s) and PA • backstage area (generators, changing rooms, storage room, toilet) • stalls (food, activities) • children’s areas • parking facilities • lost children • rubbish • toilets • information desk/stall • first aid • fire points • lost property

Toilet quotas Make sure you have at least one toilet accessible for disabled people and one toilet with baby changing facilities. Segregate male and female toilets if possible. Arrange for all the toilets to be serviced regularly to keep them fully operational, clean and hygienic throughout the event. Ensure there’s enough toilet paper. An event of 8 hours = full quota of toilets below An event of 6 hours = 80% of quotas below 1 toilet for every 50 females 1 toilet for the first 100 males 2 toilets for 101-500 males 3 toilets for 501-1000 males


TOP TIPS FACTSHEET 4 Identifying the hazards

All hazards should be identified including those relating to individual activities and any equipment. Consider the following issues when identifying the hazards and risks associated with your event: • hazards in the site itself e.g. overhead power lines or uneven paving • parking facilities and access for vehicles on the day of the event and before and after • the types of attendees e.g. older people, disabled people. Are there any particular arrangements that need to be made e.g. ramps? • Site capacity - how many people are expected to attend the event? Think about access points and the level of stewarding that will be required • Communication - how will you communicate with stewards, stallholders and the crowd? • provisions for emergency services - what will be the procedure for requesting assistance? How will they access the site? • is there an event safety plan? Are responsibilities clearly allocated? • provision of first aid/medical facilities in signposted areas • fire safety: the use and storage of generators should be strictly controlled and appropriate fire extinguishers should be provided in accessible positions near to high-risk area • security and cash handling arrangements, ensuring that the potential risk of theft of cash, valuables and equipment is considered - the use of a professional security company may be required for larger events

• health & safety - the organisers should ensure that contractors employed to set up/take down stands, exhibits, marquees etc submit appropriate health and safety policies, risk assessments and method statements • catering and public health - anyone providing catering should be in possession of the original certificate in food hygiene • stalls - think about the interaction between adjacent stalls and the problems that may result from having conflicting activities going on next to one another • waste management - waste collection at setting up, during and after the event. How and when will bins be emptied and by whom?



Risk Assessment

Consider the actual harm/severity that could result from each activity/task during the event. Could it be: • trivial injury • minor injuries that may require first aid on site • major injuries that may require hospital treatment

Then determine the probability of the hazard happening. Is it: • unlikely • possible • likely

Use the following table to work out the risk factor

risk factor probability Harm/Severity

Unlikely (A)

Possible (B)

Likely (C)

No injury (1)

Low Risk (1)

Low Risk (2)

Low risk (3)

Minor (2)

Low Risk (2)

Medium Risk (4)

Medium Risk (6)

Major (3)

Low Risk (3)

Medium Risk (6)

High Risk (9)

Example Event Risk Assessment Form Hazard

Persons at Risk

Severity of Risk 1, 2 or 3

Probability of Risk A, B, or C

Overall Risk Factor

Measures required to control the risk

Action to be taken by

People tripping over litter


3 – Low Risk



Site Manager

Marquee falling over


3 – High Risk



Bins placed around site. Hourly litter picking by volunteers. Ensure marquee is erected correctly and secured to the ground with ropes

Action Low risk No action necessary, but still advisable to implement controls where this can be done easily. Examples of low risk activities: traditional market stalls, tombola, raffle. Medium Risk Reduce risk if possible/implement controls. Examples of medium risk activities: a display of static machines in a roped off area, inflatables (e.g. bouncy castles). High Risk Reduce/remove risk if possible; consider not conducting risky activity, implement appropriate controls. Examples of high risk activities: mechanical rides, water based events.

Site Manager

Identifying those at risk For each hazard identified, list all groups of people who may be affected. The following should be taken into account: • stewards • employees • volunteers • contractors • vendors, exhibitors and performers, participants • members of the public: disabled people, older people, children, expectant mothers, potential trespassers, local residents.



useful contacts

• Appetite: 01782 454404 or email • B-Arts: 01782 848835 or email • Children’s Centres: • Creative Stoke Arts Directory • Engage Communities: 01782 769226 or email • Food Standards Agency: • Gambling Commission: • Health and Safety Executive: • Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent: 01782 232625 or email • Performing Rights Society: 0800 068 48 28 • Phonographic Performance Ltd: 020 7534 1000 or email • Red Cross Stafford: 0844 412 2738 • St John Ambulance first aid support. 08700 104950 • Staffordshire Police - local police teams: • Stoke-on-Trent City Council: • Stoke-on-Trent Commercial Waste Management: 01782 234234 • Stoke-on-Trent Environmental Health: 01782 232065 or email • Stoke-on-Trent Highways: 01782 237061 or email • Stoke-on-Trent Licensing: 01782 232774 or email • Stoke-on-Trent Parks and Open Spaces: 01782 234 234 or email • Stoke-on-Trent Safety Advisory Group: 01782 235104 • Stoke-on-Trent Sport and Leisure Services: 01782 238866 • Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent (VAST): 0300 303 8606



Appendix 1 Disability Access Guides:

• Access Toolkit: Making outdoor arts events accessible to all http: // • Events Access events-checklist-disability-and-access/ • Disability Arts Online



The guide has been developed following consultation with individuals and community organisations across the city. Contributors were asked their views on the types of events they would attend. Organisations provided their experiences of running their own events. We are grateful to the following for their help in developing this guide: • B-Arts • Cobridge Community Group • Fenton Hub • London Road Festival (Festival Stoke) • Parent Time Group at Thomas Boughey Centre, Shelton • St Paul’s Church, Blurton • Stoke Baptist Centre • Stoke Events Group • Stoke Pride • Workers Educational Association • Whitfield Valley Centre • and to several individuals who kindly offered their views. We are particularly grateful to Camden London Borough Council for giving us permission to use their Celebrate Camden booklet and other information to help us to develop Events for All. With thanks to Seedbed for their support in helping to produce this document. Front cover design from artwork created for the London Road Festival by Adam Pryce

Produced by Imagine Associates in partnership with Festival Stoke 2016

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