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Health and safety guidelines for events

Many people choose to put on fundraising events in celebration of Christian Aid Week, from Big Brekkies to coffee mornings, tea dances and sponsored walks. Our advice below should help answer some of your common questions, so you can have a safe and enjoyable event. 

Event safety 

Your safety is our priority and to make sure your event is both fun and safe please follow our guidelines. 

Do I need to complete a risk assessment for my event? 

A risk assessment is recommended to help you anticipate any potential risks and take steps to mitigate them. Christian Aid’s risk assessment template will help you to define whether you must complete an assessment for your event.  

If you need help to complete a risk assessment or plan your Christian Aid Week fundraising please contact us for support. 

Many churches also have a health and safety officer who may be able to provide help. 

Download the risk assessment form

What health and safety issues do I need to consider for an indoor event? 

  • Ensure volunteers are briefed well, and you have covered info like toilets, fire exits and parking and who to talk to if anything goes wrong. 
  • Fire exits should be checked, cleared and appropriately lit. 
  • If you are using equipment, ensure that the person operating it has read the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • All banking materials (float, cash box, receipt books) should be stored safely and securely. 
  • If you are using a kitchen check if there are any faults that might pose a risk. 
  • More advice is available here

What health and safety issues do I need to consider for an outdoor event? 

  • Have a contingency plan or alternative venue in the event of severe weather. 
  • Consider the environmental impact the event will have on its surroundings 
  • In the event of hot weather advise attendees to wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing e.g. sun hat. Perhaps have some sunscreen and bottled water available at the event. 
  • Have clear travel arrangements. Take into consideration access issues including vehicles, local transport and adequate parking 
  • If your event involves the use of vehicles it is essential that organisers advise participants to take rest stops and plan journey timetables that recognise road safety, especially speed limits. 

What safety guidance do I need to consider for my Safety online meeting or events? 

  • If you are planning on running an open event, provide an email address for members of the public to request the details of the meeting rather than posting them on social media. 
  • Make sure you use a password if the platform allows you to do so whilst generating a meeting link  
  • Advise participants to not share the link and password they are given for the meeting but to encourage anyone interested in the event to register themselves  
  • Use any waiting room features that are available for the online meeting platform you are using  
  • Ensure that the meeting platform enables the organiser or host to mute, block or stop participants from displaying or sharing anything inappropriate  
  • Ensure that the organiser or host can control when participants are able to share their screen   
  • Do not record meetings unless you need to and make sure that you ask for the consent of participants before you do  
  • Remember that some people may not be familiar with the meeting platform you are using and may need guidance on how to use it safely  

Do I need a first aider at my event? 

Your risk assessment will give you an indication of whether you require additional first aid support for your event. 

For smaller events, such as a coffee morning, ensure that you have access to a First Aid kit and a trained first aider from your church for example. 

For events such as a fun run or bike ride you must have a trained first aider present. 

For medium sized events (10,000 people upward) we recommend you contact an organisation like St John's Ambulance who can provide a quote for event coverage. 

What should I consider about fire safety? 

  • Make sure you have a simple exit plan and assembly point in the case of a fire. 
  • Check if the venue has fire extinguishers and where possible have someone in attendance who can use them. 
  • Check you know where the fire exits are and that they can be easily opened; make all attending the event aware of them. 
  • If there is not someone trained, do not attempt to fight the fire. Exit the building calmly and call the emergency services (999). 
  • If there is a fire and you exit the building, make sure you check that everyone is out of the building – make sure you check all rooms including the toilets. 
  • Before the event, organisers should conduct a final check to ensure everything is in place, especially fire exits, first aid and equipment provisions. 
  • Further information on outdoor events is available here 

Food and drink 

Events involving food like safari suppers, soup lunches, and strawberry teas are always popular fundraising options. The following advice will help you to keep your event safe. 

Do I need a food hygiene certificate? 

Food hygiene certificates are not a legal requirement. 

What guidelines should we follow in preparing food? 

  • Wash your hands and any equipment you are using in hot soapy water 
  • Keep food out of the fridge for the shortest time possible 
  • Even if people are waiting to eat, don't reduce cooking times 
  • Always make sure food is properly cooked before you serve it 
  • Keep raw and ready-to-eat foods apart 
  • Do not use food past its ‘use by’ date 
  • Transport food safely 
  • Know what is in the ingredients and display or provide information about allergens Ideally, give the product name, a list of ingredients and details about ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction, such as nuts. Ensure the information is accurate. 
  • Further advice and guidance is available here 

Do I need a licence to sell alcohol at my event? 

Anyone operating premises or organising events that include the sale or supply of alcohol must have a licence. You can find out more here. Certain activities may also require a temporary event notice for example to serve hot food between certain times or run an indoor sporting event. 

If you are selling or providing alcohol, the local licencing laws apply. You must adhere to age limits regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol. 

Can I give away free alcohol at my event? 

  • You can give alcohol away at events or meetings without a licence, but you must make it clear that the value of the alcohol is not included in any ticket price or entrance fee. 
  • If selling or providing alcohol, the local licencing laws apply. You must adhere to age limits regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol. 
  • Further advice is available here  

Events safeguarding 

Whilst hosting an event you may meet vulnerable people, we provide the following information to help you in your event planning and risk assessment. 

  • Make fundraising information clear and accessible. 
  • Always treat a donor fairly, taking into account any additional needs they have to enable them to make an informed decision about donating. 
  • Never pressure someone into making a donation. 
  • Be alert to signs that someone may be confused or vulnerable and need additional support. 
  • Take care not to take advantage of mistakes by donors or to exploit their lack of knowledge or need for care. 
  • Don’t accept a donation from an individual if you believe he/she lacks capacity to make the decision to donate. 
  • Avoid asking for a donation if a person clearly indicates that they do not wish to engage with the fundraiser. 
  • Don’t deny someone the right to give on account of their age or other factor, so long as this is what they want to do. 

Safeguarding children 

Children get involved in fundraising in a variety of ways, fundraising at school, organising their own activities or taking part in events. The following guidance flags up things to consider when fundraising with children. 

  • DBS checks are usually needed for any staff members or volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable people. 
  • Regular donations should not be sought from under 18s. 
  • Consent must be given by a parent or guardian if you are to process or disclose a child’s personal details, or to photograph or publish images. If the child is over 13 years old they can give this permission themselves. If they are under 13, you must get permission from their parent or guardian. 
  • Contact with school children will need the approval of the head or relevant teacher. 
  • Many children fundraise, but there are age limits on certain fundraising activities, which must be observed. (For example, children can’t collect donations or sell raffle tickets without adult supervision.) 
  • Children and parents/guardians will need to be supported and given guidance for fundraising safely and legally