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Planning church events

The organisation of events has long been a method used by churches for fundraising and, in the main, has proved to be very successful. However, without adequate planning and organisation, the running of such activities can lead to accidents and injuries.

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Further Information

All entertainment events are classed as work activities and therefore are subject to the Health and Safety at Work Act and the various regulations passed under it. In addition licensing legislation may also apply and you may require a Temporary Event Notice from the local licensing authority.

An event organiser has a duty to ensure that any premises, including churchyards and other open spaces, means of access and egress and any plant, equipment and substances are safe and without risks to the health of any employees, volunteers or visitors.

A common duty of care also arises under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 to ensure that visitors will be reasonably safe in carrying out the activities for which they were invited, or permitted to be, at the event.

Remember that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) now regards persons who make use of volunteers as employers and volunteers as employees. The same level of training, information and protection must be provided to both employees and volunteers.

The following is designed to give some insight into the areas to be considered when organising such events, but should not be considered exhaustive.

  • Planning events - checklist


    Ensure the venue is suitable

    Risk assessments must be carried out for fire and health and safety risks.

    Consider crowd control

    Including parking arrangements, having stewards to direct visitors, checking exits and deciding how visitors will be evacuated in an emergency.

    Plan first aid provision

    This will be based on the numbers attending and the nature of the activities. It may range from a simple first aid box to a number of trained first-aiders.

    Consider food and drink provision

    Food hygiene and the requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 must be considered. Where cooking takes place, a check should be made on the method of heating and its associated hazards, e.g bottled gas and deep fat fryers.

    Take care with bouncy castles

    They are a major cause of injury to children. Read our safety advice and instructions if you're planning one for your event.

    Check external contractors

    Companies providing fairground rides or amusements must have adequate public liability insurance. It is your duty to check this before the event.


    If animals feature as part of the event (donkey rides, pet shows, obedience trials,for example), there needs to be adequate separation between the public and the animals, and provision must be made for the welfare of the animals and their supervision.

    Cash handling

    Consideration must be given before the event to the handling of cash and the security of those involved in collecting and banking money. Every stall or attraction should be provided with a cash box of some kind, a float will be required for each cash collection point and takings must be removed regularly and placed in a secure place during the course of the event.

    Tower tours

    Members of the public entering for the first time will not be aware of potential hazards. Take a look at our tower tours checklist to help identify the main hazards and the control measures that can be taken to reduce the risk.

    Dangerous activities

    In the event that any dangerous activity is to be organised, you must take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of participants as far as possible. Many of these activities are operated through Codes of Practice, Health and Safety Executive Guidelines and Guidance Notes, Trade Association guidelines and Government regulations.

    In the event that any dangerous activity is to be organised, Ecclesiastical must be advised as Public Liability cover will not be automatic. For a list of dangerous activities, see our Functions Guidance notes.

Full advice can be found in our Functions Guidance notes. For more information call 0345 777 3322.
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.