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Top tips for running a community event or celebration

18 August 2016

As we start to make awards through our Celebrate programme, the Community Outreach team at The Big Lunch share some of their top tips for running and promoting a community event.

Jocelyn’s tips on contacting the local media
Jocelyn, Junior PR Executive

“Speaking to the local media is a great way to get the word out about your event or celebrate your achievements. Decide what outlet you would like to speak to or search for British media contacts online.

Make sure you give journalists plenty of notice—aim for at least a week before the event for local newspapers and radio—and explain clearly and concisely why your event is noteworthy. If you’re using a press release template, copy the text into the body of the email and make the subject line eye-catching so it stands out in a journalist’s busy inbox! And don’t be afraid to chase them up if you don’t receive a response—one email may not be enough!”

Grainne’s tips on social media
Grainne, Northern Ireland Country Manager

“While I don’t rely on social media alone, it’s helpful to raise awareness by creating a Facebook event or Eventbrite page, and inviting people you know (make it public so they can invite their friends) and sharing the event on other organisations’ walls. Create a hashtag for the event so people can easily follow discussions and photos from the day.

Invite local organisations to participate in your event and get them to use their social media to reach their audience too. Also, respectfully ask local VIPs to also talk about it (online and in person)—especially if they are going. I find this more useful in advance.”


Big Lunch staff from top left and clockwise: Emily, Peter, Gwion, Sam, Jocelyn, Grainne

Peter’s tips on safety and insurance
Peter, England Country Manager

“Health and safety sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be. We all risk-assess situations unconsciously, as the vast majority of it is common sense, so writing it down doesn’t need to take long. In fact there are loads of templates online you can use.

According to national government policies, small street parties should not require fees, insurance or complex forms, and most councils understand the need for simple and sensible application processes. Some local authorities may ask for insurance or other fees due to their existing systems. If this is the case in your area, it is always worth talking to the council staff responsible and explaining the situation, including the national policies mentioned above.”

Gwion’s tips on film and photography
Gwion, Wales Country Manager

“The most important thing to remember about your event is to enjoy it! But it’s always nice to capture a few memories with a couple of photos or a little film. A picture tells a thousand words as they say! These days if you’ve got a camera phone you’ve got all the kit you need and by following a few basic rules you can end up with some lovely images—my 4-year old daughter shared her photo top tips for the last Big Lunch.

Think about scenes that capture the essence of the day, and of people in the thick of having a good time. You can send your best high resolution pics to local media. If you’re planning on sharing the photos/videos on social media it’s a good idea to use a hashtag as Grainne explains above, and tag people you know in the images. For Celebrate projects, use #BigCelebration.”

Emily’s tips on inviting you MP and other VIPs
Emily, Scotland Country Manager

“Community events are a great way to create or boost local pride so if you’re proud of what you’ve all achieved and want to invite a local MP or other VIP, go ahead! You can find out who your MPs are at The best way to approach them is to drop off a friendly invite at their constituency office or place of work and follow up with a phone call.

Treat them just like another neighbour because MPs and VIPs are people too and if they live locally, they may well be your neighbours! Try to give them at least six weeks’ notice if you can as diaries get very busy!”

Sam’s tips on getting your local community involved
Samantha, Wales Community Network Developer

“The best events are those that feel owned by its community; involving people means there will be a greater variety of activities and ideas on offer, tasks and responsibilities will feel shared and the event will be really well supported.

Start a conversation with the members of your community, either online through email/Facebook/Twitter or local websites (e.g. councils, Eventbrite), or face-to-face at informal public meetings. Explain what you’re hoping to achieve and actively encourage input. You’ll find people who have all sorts of skills or resources to offer; like producing posters, face painting skills, running a stall or performing music.

Give as much notice of your event as possible by sharing your posters/flyers online, on town notice boards, in local shops and in the local newspaper. Let people know where to get in touch if they can help. This will help you keep up momentum, get new ideas and inspire people to spread the message.”

If you’ve had an award from our Celebrate programme, check out this resources page to help make your celebration a success.

If you want more general support on publicising your project, visit our grant holder resources page.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 August 2016 9:34 am

    Excellent advice guys! We need all the help we can get.

    Thanks for al the tips 🙂

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