Events and activities can bring communities together to play, learn, communicate and celebrate. A park or public green space provides a shared social and civic environment in the heart of a neighbourhood. Many groups run successful events in their parks, from summer fairs to picnic lunches – there’s fun and inspiration to be had!
We are available to help Friends Groups and environmental organisations run events through offering advice, support and guidance in all aspects of running an event, from initial planning through to the day itself.
We have worked closely with the Events Manager at Richmond Council’s Parks and Open Spaces to draw together the most useful information for groups planning to run events in public green spaces to make the process as transparent and straightforward as possible.
We have also created a special SWLEN Help Sheet Running an Event in a Park 2016 to guide you through the steps of applying to the Council, and that offers advice and tips as you think about, and plan, an event – you can download or view as a PDF (with all the relevant live web links).
Why run an event in a park or green space?
- It brings people together: different people from different neighbourhoods meet each other
- It focuses attention on the park, so can attract new ‘Friends’ and support
- It gets people thinking about why they need a public green space and how they can use it
- To raise support for a new initiative or improvement in the park
- Because you have something to celebrate, to mark or to cheer up.
Try not to be put off by the rules and requirements in running a public event. They are important for everyone’s wellbeing, including yours as the organiser. It can look quite daunting initially but once you start, it’s relatively straightforward and manageable.
There’s help if you get stuck, from either us here at SWLEN or from the Events Team at Richmond Borough Council. And you can always contact another friends group in the borough who have run a similar event for some starting out advice.
You will need to apply for licences and permissions to use the park or green space. Applying for these permissions are part of the application process for your event.
- Allow time – for initial organisation, fundraising, process and planning
- Plan ahead – most things take much longer than you think, especially arranging meetings – you need to start planning at least 4 months before any event
- Be practical – if it’s the first time you’re running an event, start small and make it simple
- Ask – for help and advice and talk with others about what has worked well for them
- Work together – it’s more fun in a small team – share responsibilities and problems and very importantly, don’t focus on minor irritations but instead on good humour and making the best of all your combined skills
- Be inspired – look around at other events – what’s popular or what’s distinctive?
You might well not look forward to this at all, but it’s quite straightforward and most importantly, the process gives you confidence that you can deal with various situations. For example – how will you cope if twice as many people attend than you expected? What happens if a delivery vehicle wants to drive through the park to set up a stall after your event has started? How will you communicate with other staff?
SWLEN can help you think through your Risk Assessment.
Contact us and we can provide a template Word document that you can complete. We don’t provide documents for you to copy as that would defeat the object of needing to think about what might arise in your particular circumstance, as well as the various stages of your event (setting up, the event, packing away) but here is a Template – Risk Assessment form from the Keep Britain Tidy campaign which is a useful guide. The online Resource Centre also has a helpful page about risk assessments.
We are able to help groups to run sponsored events.
In December 2012 we helped Ham Hydro to organise a sponsored walk that raised funds for their project and for SWLEN. You can read about it here.
Please contact SWLEN if you would like to discuss putting on an event.
Contact the Events team at Richmond Council:
Laura Steele, Community Events Manager (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday)
Email: Laura firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 0208 891 7074
Parks and Open Spaces, Richmond Borough Council, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ