With lockdown restrictions being eased across the country, community events are the perfect way to connect and reunite. Whether it’s an in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, organising a community event can create plenty of positivity after a challenging year and even raise money in your local area.
To host an event, you’ll need to think about your goals as well as the size and demographic of your chosen community. And always remember to consult the latest COVID-19 regulations before putting anything together. To give you some inspiration, here are seven fun ideas for a community event.
1. Plan a trivia night
Zoom quizzes were a big hit during the UK’s national lockdown. Now that those who feel comfortable are taking their first few steps away from their screens, organising an in-person quiz night within your local community could be a fun way to meet your neighbours and raise money. You could even hold a hybrid pub quiz so that people have the option to take part in person or online.
General knowledge questions will appeal to a broad audience, but it’s always good to focus a few rounds on specialist subjects like football or music. Add a neighbourhood spin by including questions about your local area. For example, “How much is a pint of milk in the corner shop?” or “In what year, was the block of flats over the road built?” You can even add a charitable element by fundraising for a local organisation.
2. A new kind of street party
During the height of the pandemic, people went outside every Thursday night to clap for the NHS. The opportunity to see other faces can be a much-needed boost for members of the community who live alone. So even though the weekly applause may be over, you can still bring positive vibes by holding a socially distanced street party.
Don’t forget umbrellas in case the typical British weather strikes. Alternatively, you can move your doorstep drinks online to avoid the rain spoiling the event.
3. Gardening days
One of the best community engagement event ideas is to get together and beautify your neighbourhood. If there’s a green space in your area that has seen better days, why not organise a group of volunteers to restore it to its former glory? You don’t need to be shoulder-to-shoulder to dig out weeds, pick litter, and plant flowers. Assign a patch to each household so that they can social distance while transforming it into something everyone can enjoy. Alternatively, offer to help out elderly or disabled members of the community with their private garden.
As well as encouraging community engagement, gardening has added health and wellbeing benefits – more important than ever during periods of uncertainty. Green-fingered work can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as increase overall feelings of satisfaction.
4. Hold a swap shop
After an extended period of time spent at home during the pandemic, it’s only natural that people are turning to decluttering. Rather than throwing old clothes and furniture in the bin, why not share it with your neighbours? Holding a swap shop can have both social and environmental benefits for your community. Not only does it minimise the number of unwanted items going to landfill, but it also helps those in need.
Rather than all gathering in one place, treat it like an American garage sale and ask participants to place items in their front gardens or on their doorstep. Thoroughly clean objects before swapping and keep hand sanitiser nearby for people to use before and after touching items. Make sure to maintain a two-metre distance between groups at all times, too, and notify the local council beforehand.
5. Organise an arts and crafts festival
Every community has budding artists and craft enthusiasts, so let them show off their talents by hosting a local arts and crafts festival. Here are a few community festival themes that work in a socially distant way:
- Organise an art trail. Collaborate with a local artist to take guests around your local area, showing the places that have had an impact on their work and discussing where they get their inspiration from.
- Make it outdoor-only. Edinburgh’s colony of artists held its annual exhibition in members’ front gardens last year. With strict social distancing measures, mandatory face masks, and hand sanitiser stations, they were able to keep things safe while allowing people to showcase their talents.
- Go virtual by setting up a dedicated local events page on Facebook. Each person gets one dedicated post to promote themselves and show images of their work. Other members of the community can then connect and purchase items online.
6. Go shopping for neighbours
Not everything has to be fun. Sometimes, you can just hold events to give back to the community – for example, by rallying volunteers to go shopping for vulnerable people. Some people have disabilities that make it difficult to wear masks for extended periods of time and some may be in isolation while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. Use a community forum or WhatsApp group to plan these kinds of shopping trips.
7. Host a talent show
Raise your hand if you took up a new hobby during lockdown. Or perhaps you already have a passion that you’ve had more time to work on. By hosting a weekly “Our Street’s Got Talent” show in-person, on Zoom, or as a hybrid event, you can celebrate local talent and culture. Treat it like an open mic, allowing people to reserve their slot in advance.
They could do anything, whether that’s a 10-minute chat about wine tasting, a rendition of their favourite song, or a demonstration of their crochet skills. This is one of the best community activities for learning more about the people who live around you. If you want to host it virtually or as a hybrid event, check out our tips on hosting a live online event to avoid any technical hitches.
Whatever happens, community is key
Events that bring communities together are more important than ever. After so many months spent going in and out of lockdowns, people will be itching to mix with others and revive that community spirit.
An easy way to keep in touch is to set up a neighbourhood forum, whether that’s on a social media platform like Facebook or a purpose-built website like Nextdoor. And when it comes to organising and promoting community activities, we can help you set up everything from an event page to a ticketing system.
Remember: hosting events is all about being responsible. Carry out risk assessments and put together a comprehensive health and safety plan with the help of our COVID-19 Event Safety Playbook. And be sure to follow the latest rules and regulations in your area.