Local events are a great way to bring communities closer together. Whether you want to raise funds for a worthy cause or bring about change in your area, a community event will help rally the masses.
Deciding what type of event you should hold will depend on your goals, as well as the size and demographic of your target audience. To help inspire your next move, here are 15 tried and trusted community events ideas that are proven to help create plenty of positivity.
Table of contents
Community event ideas for families
Cultural ideas for community events
Community event ideas for families
Your event is an opportunity to bring the whole neighbourhood together. Focusing on community event ideas for families helps you host an event both parents and kids will love.
1. Gather a gardening gang
If there’s a green space in your community that has seen better days, why not organise a group of volunteers to restore it to its former glory? Digging out weeds, picking up litter, and planting appropriate flora will transform it into something for all to enjoy and encourage people to take an active part in caring for their local area.
Or why not create a vegetable patch where local people can grow food? Take inspiration from The Paradise Co-operative, which develops under-used land for urban growing and community gardening.
Ask local gardeners for help and get schools, community leaders, and local businesses on board. Salford Ranger Team work with friends groups, schools, voluntary organisations, local people, and partner organisations to make Salford’s parks, countryside, and nature reserves safer, cleaner, and greener.
2. Host a street party
Street parties have long been a traditional way for neighbours, friends, and family to come together and celebrate a milestone – think cultural celebrations, national holidays, and royal weddings.
Nowadays, they can be as formal or informal as you like. The emphasis is on having fun, building community spirit, and reinforcing a positive outlook. One of the best things about street parties is they allow people of all ages to meet and enjoy each other’s company.
When organising a street party, you must get permission from your council and street residents – it can take 4 to 12 weeks, so factor that in when setting your date. Tell the council the date and time of your event, whether you want to close a road, if the road is part of a bus route or used by traffic, and a list of any properties or businesses affected. The more you consult with neighbours, the better.
3. Hold a swap shop
Holding a swapping event 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 out individuals and families who can’t afford to replace their worn-out clothes, furniture, or electronics.
A swap shop is generally a cashless local event where people exchange unwanted items for something they do want. Not everyone needs to bring something – the more takers the better, it will mean you will have very little left over at the end.
You may choose to have an event at a specific venue or simply a day when everyone puts their unwanted items out on the street, and anyone can take what they want. Just remember to notify the local council first and arrange for anything not claimed to be taken to a local charity afterwards. For inspiration, check out The Big ECC SwapShop hosted by Glow – Warmspace.
4. Embrace local produce with a farmer’s market
No one can say no to delicious and fresh produce, especially when the town is filled with the most amazing smells!
Whether you get some local farmers, caterers, or food shops together, this is a great way to highlight the produce and local sellers in the area. As well as getting to eat all the delicious food at the event, people will know they will be able to buy this produce nearby on any other given day – supporting the local community.
Why not think Great British Bake Off and ask the community to create their own showstopper cakes and raffle them off? No one can turn down cake.
5. Litter picking
Collecting litter gives people a sense of fulfilment and cleaner streets make neighbourhoods look better, too. Kids, in particular, love the challenge of picking up as much litter as possible. What could be more positive than caring for the environment?
Charity community event ideas
Community fundraising event ideas need to address two issues – raising money for your given charity and entertaining your guests. Get creative and plan a charity event that achieves both these goals.
6. Plan a trivia night
A quiz night with general knowledge questions can appeal to a broad audience, or you can target particular groups by focusing on specialist subjects, such as sports, history, or music. Theming your quiz can also give it an extra edge; for example, how about holding one on Halloween with questions about horror films, along with spooky decorations to get everyone in the spirit?
The hardest part of holding a quiz night is inevitably writing the questions. If you research your own trivia on the internet, then be careful when selecting the sites where you source your questions. Do not just take them from the first list of horror movie facts you come across – your participants may well have been on the same website!
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.
7. Community training events
Training and development events help charities empower local people. The more individuals with relevant skills, the stronger the communities in which they live. These events range from teaching new skills to improving people’s knowledge and understanding. Why not run health and wellness events, organise talks or seminars, or provide practical training such as CPR sessions? Take A Part do just this by providing free mental health first aid training for volunteers and community members.
8. Talent shows
People love letting their hair down and showing off hidden skills – making talent shows perfect as a fundraiser. Anyone with an internet connection can join in, so extend your reach by including your virtual audience. Have different age categories or break acts down into categories such as singing, dancing, or variety performances. Just make sure everyone gets the chance to take centre stage.
9. Fun run, marathon or walkathon
Walking and running events are popular and successful community activities for a reason. They’re sociable, appeal to a wide audience of all ages, and can be as easy or as challenging as participants like. They also make great fundraisers.
Whether people are running enthusiasts or new to the sport, destination races can be a big attraction. But even if your run or walk event doesn’t take place in a big city, you can still use your location to entice registrations. Poll your team or community for secret spots or little-known businesses and include them on your route, advertising your event as the “Best Kept Secrets” of your town.
10. Donation drive
Donation drives allow people to donate new, unused, or used items to those in need. That’s anything from food, clothing, or furniture to personal hygiene products, cooking utensils, or baby equipment. Everything donated must be in good condition, and by working with your local charity, you can clarify what they need. And if you use Eventbrite’s online tools you can coordinate your social media activity and reach a wider audience.
11. Charity golf event
If you have access to a golf course, why not put it to good use by hosting a charity golf tournament? It’s a great way to generate funds and give people a fun, healthy day out. Beginners and pros are welcome.
Cultural ideas for community events
Communities are a rich mixture of cultures and beliefs. Celebrate this by hosting community cultural events everyone can enjoy.
12. Organise an arts and crafts festival
In every community, there are budding craft enthusiasts that you could bring together by creating your own arts and crafts festival.
The term arts and crafts covers such a magnitude of different disciplines that there’s nothing stopping you from setting up stalls selling anything you want, from pottery to watercolours, knitwear to jewellery. Craft and Flea Events do just that with a collection of independent makers, collectors, designers, and creatives all under one roof.
Organise an art trail by collaborating with a local artist to take guests around your local area, showing the places that have impacted and inspired their work. Or 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.
13. Film screening
Who doesn’t enjoy watching a great film on a big screen with a bucket of popcorn? You can organise a film screening at a local school, church, community centre, or even outside under the stars (rooftops are still in!). Choose to screen a recent blockbuster or go for an old classic and embrace a theme, like ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ with guests encouraged to come in fancy dress.
On the other hand, if you have a message to get across or are marking a particular occasion, you can choose a relevant movie, such as ‘Rabbit-Proof Fence’ to promote reconciliation or ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ to raise awareness about living with cancer.
Under UK copyright law, if you’re playing films outside your domestic or home circle, you need to obtain permission. This permission can be a licence or film booking from the film’s copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually one of the three major distributors – BFI, Filmbankmedia, or MPLC.
14. Use a themed day
Themed days like World Book Day or International Women’s Day are a gift for event creators. They give you, as host, a focus for your planning and your guests plenty of ideas for how to celebrate. Choose themes that resonate with your community and enlist local charities and businesses to help with the organisation.
15. Coordinate a performance
Amateur dramatics has been a long-standing part of the community, so why not gather some aspiring thespians together and organise a show? Theatre and musical performances uplift a community, so tap into your local knowledge and host an event your audience will appreciate.
Theatre can take place anywhere. Change things up and create an immersive experience or walking performance with parts of the play staged around town. Have your actors do scenes or interact with the audience, making them part of the performance.
Use the seasons to your advantage by performing ‘A Christmas Carol’ toward the end of the year. Or you could use a nearby forest or garden to stage ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ during the summer months.
How to plan a community event
The emphasis here is on community. That means bringing people together, creating a positive atmosphere, and having fun.
The best way to organise a successful community event is by working with prominent local people, the wider community, and local businesses. Take planning one step at a time, and the process becomes more effective.
- Sort the basics, including the name, date, and time of your event
- Agree on a budget and stick to it. Working with others can stretch your funds further
- Plan a charity event that resonates with your local community
- Secure a venue that is accessible to all and has good transport links
- Ensure that you have all the necessary permits and permissions for your event
- Make lists and check them twice. Identify what you need, including catering, seating, performers, volunteers, merchandise, and suppliers
- Advertise your event in places local people access information, like local newspapers, community centres, schools, colleges, or on social media
- Work with caterers, vendors, and suppliers who understand local community needs
- Get as much help as you can – volunteers are a lifesaver. Enlist local people to help make your event a success
- Remember to thank everyone for all their hard work
When creating change, community is key
Positive change comes from a feeling of unity, and there are so many ways that you can bring people together. Connect with your audience now and organise an event that engages your community.