Charity Affairs By Lara Rufus

It’s a Community Affair – Hosting your community event

 

Community games, community cohesions, community events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee… the list is endless. The impending Olympic Games have certainly contributed to this community flair, bringing communities together across the country and beyond.

 

‘Community’ is something that is very much the focus now. With the riots last year, and the apparent civil unrest borne out of this, the Government is very much focused on bringing different sections of the community together; whether it be via inter-generational activity – bringing the older generation and the young together; Black or White, or perhaps different cultural groups… it’s all about building communities!

 

Often the Church is the one organisation that can often bridge this gap and connect communities locally. Churches offer a safe haven to all – irrespective of what section of the community an individual belongs to.

 

The Hub Community Church

 

My former church, The Hub, based in Leyton, East London, was guided by this principle, and each year sought to put on a community event at Lea Valley Park, which was entirely funded by the generous donations of its members and support from local businesses. This helped to strike a chord with the local community, and really helped the church gain credibility.

 

So where do I begin?

 

Some key pointers you need to put in place when thinking about putting on a community event are:

 

  • Research: Don’t assume you know what your community needs – find out.This should be the starting point for you, as your success will partly depend on your ability to deliver what your community wants. Find out if other groups are likely to be doing something similar. Speak to your local council and/or your local Voluntary Action Council, as they should be able to help you here.
  • Ideas: Begin to think about the programme that you want to deliver – think about what you may need to do before implementing your plan. For instance, will you need a licence or permit? If in doubt, ask your local council.
  • Marketing: Think about who you’d like to attend your community event; be specific as to who you’d like to be there. Distribute your flyers/marketing material in venues that you know are frequented by these groups, as opposed to a scattergun approach and just leaving them anywhere.
  • Funding: The first place to start is with your parishoners, but outside of this you could look for external funding via Trusts and Foundations, many of which will fund social action initiatives, but not fund proselytising or evangelistic events. You could also speak to local businesses, many of which have a Corporate Social Responsibility to support local groups, whether it be financially or in kind (offering free gifts and services or advice).
  • Volunteers: The good thing about churches is that you have a bank of ready-made volunteers, who are passionate about your vision! Make sure you get the whole church on board, and always remember to THANK them!
    Implementation: Finally, start putting your plan into action!
    All the best with hosting your community event!

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