Community member, Peter Bennetts, shares 12 tips for organising local events.
My name is Peter Bennetts and I’m passionate about blind and partially sighted people connecting with each other, sharing stories and experiences and learning from one another.
In the north east of England where I live, I listened to what other blind and partially sighted people were saying and to what they wanted. They told me that nothing much had happened in 2016 and that they were frustrated. I decided to use my skills and experience to make something exciting happen, and the result was an absolutely fantastic weekend held at the Windermere Manor Hotel in March this year.
The success of this event was an excellent example of how blind and partially sighted people can lead within their own communities.
I hope that my top tips below will be helpful to anyone else wanting to plan and organise an event in their own area. Give it a go and good luck!
Listen to blind and partially sighted people in your community. What are they saying and what do they want?
Be clear about the event you want to organise and why.
Consider your strengths and weaknesses. What can you realistically achieve yourself and what support will you require?
Plan what needs to be done and who needs to do it. Never be afraid to ask for help, but if you are confident enough, go for it.
Things do not always go to plan, so always be prepared and have a backup.
Pay attention to detail and always follow up. Other people may not always carry out their agreed responsibility so double check.
Be inclusive and involve others. Be clear about tasks, aims and goals.
Good organisation is vital. Produce a detailed programme in different formats.
Excellent communication with volunteers, participants and staff is vital.
Be clear about expectations - yours, group members, staff - and always respect others.
Engage with everyone equally, value every contribution and avoid cliques developing.
Remember most people like structure, but be prepared to be flexible and most of all connect with others and have fun!
If you have similar tips to share or want to speak to Peter about how he planned his event, please contact the Connect team on 0303 1234 555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org