Health and safety - things to consider when organising your CAFOD event

Runners celebrate after the 2016 Bollington Fun Run in aid of Catholic charity CAFOD

Runners celebrate after the 2016 Bollington Fun Run 

Coronavirus and events

As coronavirus is still circulating in society, read on to find out how to make your event 'covid-safe' and please always remember to check current Government guidelines.

How can I make my event ‘covid-safe’?

To protect yourself and others from the risks of coronavirus, please remember:

  • Outdoor events for a group of people are safer than meeting indoors
  • For indoor events, open windows to let fresh air in and consider a ‘safe’ upper limit to the number of people present. Please refer to UK Government guidelines and any guidance from indoor venues if hiring a hall
  • It is recommended that you take a lateral flow test before attending any events; indoors or outside. If you test positive for coronavirus, please stay away, arrange a PCR test and self-isolate if legally required to do so
  • Consider your health – if you are experiencing any of the main signs of covid (any cold or flu symptoms, include sneezing, a new and continuous cough, high temperature or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste), do not attend an event.
  • To keep yourself and others safe, please regularly wash your hands and use hand sanitiser
  • We expect and recommend that face coverings should be worn in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Ensuring your event is safe

Thank you for organising an event for CAFOD. Read on to find out everything you need to know about ensuring your event is both fun and safe, from fire safety to First Aid. 

Do I need to complete a risk assessment?

It is always a good idea to complete a risk assessment for your events. This is to help you think through any potential risks and how you can take reasonable steps to mitigate them. If you've never done a risk assessment before have a look at our example risk assessments for a coffee morning and a dance. Please refer to your parish health and safety representative with any queries.

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

Make sure you know where the fire exits are. Check that all entrances and exits are safe. If you are using equipment ensure that the person operating it has read the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are using a kitchen check if there are any faults which might pose a risk.

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.

In the event of hot weather advise attendees to wear sunscreen and appropriate clothing e.g. sun hat. Perhaps have some sunscreen available at the event for attendees to use.

If people are arriving by car make sure you consider how to avoid congestion.

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. 

Do I need a first aider at my event?

If you are running an event such as a fun run or bike ride you must have trained first aiders present. Organisations such as St John's Ambulance can help provide cover. 

For smaller events, such as a coffee morning, ensure that you have access to a First Aid kit. 

Check you know where the fire exits are and that they can be easily opened; make all attending the event aware of them.

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 if possible have someone attend who knows how to use them. In the event of a fire, if there is no one present who can use a fire extinguisher, 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.


Licences and permissions 

You may need to seek permission from your local authority for events such as street parties. Check here for information on different licences and permissions for venues as well as music and film licences. 

Do I need to obtain any permissions for my event?

Please check with your local authority if permission is required to hold your event. If the event is being held on private property or open access land organisers should seek permission from the landowners.

The maximum number of participants may be set by permissions/licences or local conditions. It is important to ensure that these numbers are not exceeded.

If your local authority or the landowner gives any relevant local guidance or site specific information, please ensure that this is followed.

The Countryside Code in England and Wales must be observed by all.


What permissions do I need for film screenings?

If you are holding a film night outside your own home or the cinema, you will need a screening licence to ensure that you are not breaching any copyrights.  There are many independent film distributors in the UK which may offer a licence with the film that you are seeking, a good place to start is ‘Filmbank’ or ‘Dogwoof’.

Filmbank promotes the opportunities and the benefits of film screenings in every sector of the community as well as raising awareness of licensing issues. 

Dogwoof allows you to become an ambassador to show regular new-release documentary films in your area or show a film on your own terms through the 'do-it-yourself' section of their website.

What permissions do I need to play music?

If you play music at a public event you need a Music Licence to show that you have permission from the owners of that music. You can obtain a licence from The Performing Rights Society.

The following events do not need entertainment licences between the hours of 8am and 11pm:

  • performances of live unamplified music for audiences
  • performances of live amplified music in licensed premises for audiences of up to 200 people
  • performances of plays and dance for audiences of up to 500 people
  • indoor sporting events for audiences up to 1,000 people

Other examples of performances that generally don’t need a licence are:

  • karaoke – between 8am and 11pm in licensed premises for audiences of 200 or less if there is any amplification
  • incidental music - live music that is incidental to other activities


Do I need permissions for festivals, street parties and public meetings?

Your local authority or police may have local byelaws, which require you to inform them if you are holding a public meeting or event or to gain a 'public entertainments licence'. If you are unsure of anything, it is important that you get in touch with their licensing department as they will be able to advise you. It is a good idea to check with them, in case there are things you are unaware of.

Do I need permissions if I want to organise a demonstration or a march?

If you are organising this type of event then you must inform the local police of the proposed date, route, starting time and at least one organiser of the event at least six days before the event is due to occur.

What do I need to bear in mind if I am running a raffle, bingo or roulette?

It is important to check that your raffle or fundraising activity abides by the following rules:

  • It must be run for charitable, sporting or cultural purposes
  • Proceeds must not be used for private gain
  • No more than a specified amount of money can be spent on purchasing prizes
  • No money prizes can be awarded
  • Tickets can only be sold during the course of the event or entertainment and on the premises in which the event is being held

Is there anything I need to consider if I'm selling goods (e.g. at a jumble sale)?

Always check that anything being sold (e.g. toys) comply with relevant safety standards.


Food and drink 

Events like soup lunches and coffee mornings are great ways to have fun with friends and family while raising funds for CAFOD's work. Read on for advice on how to keep your event safe.

How can I ensure that food I serve at my event is safe?

Food hygiene certificates are not a legal requirement. If you are selling or handling food at a charity event, you need to do so safely. Here are some simple tips:

  • 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
  • Know what is in the ingredients and display or provide information about allergens (e.g. provide a ’contains nuts’ label for cakes. Only label food as nut free etc. if you are 100% sure that this is the case

If you are unsure check the government's catering advice for charity and community groups providing food.

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

You need an alcohol licence from your local authority to sell alcohol at an event. You may also need a temporary event notice

If you are selling or providing alcohol, the local licencing laws apply. Age limits regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol must be adhered to.

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. Age limits regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol must be adhered to.

If you are unsure please see the government's advice on alcohol at charity events.  


Collecting sponsorship and holding public collections 

If you want to hold a public collection or ask for sponsorship there are a few important things to remember. Read on to find out more. 

How can I collect sponsorship for CAFOD?

If you would like people to sponsor you please use the CAFOD Sponsorship form. This form ensures that we treat data correctly and allows people to opt in or out of further communications from CAFOD. We are unable to claim Gift Aid if the correct forms are not used.  

If you need to collect personal data during your event (e.g. names, email addresses) these must be kept safe at all times. You should not share personal details with others without permission.

What do I need to consider if I want to hold a collection for CAFOD?

Contact your local CAFOD office for collection tins and stickers.

You will need to get different permissions depending on where you hold your collection.

  • If you are holding a collection on private property, for instance in a supermarket. you will need to get permission from the supermarket manager
  • If you are planning a collection on public land, for instance in a town centre, you will need to get permission from your local authority. This may include applying for a permit, so check your council’s website for details
  • Children under 16 should not be involved in collecting as part of a street collection 

For more information on keeping your collection legal, please visit the Institute of Fundraising. If you have any questions please get in touch at or on 0303 303 3030.

What should I consider when collecting and handling cash:

  • Have a secure place to keep the cash e.g. a lockable cash box.
  • Do not leave cash unattended.
  • When counting cash have another person with you to verify and witness the amount. You should record the details of your cash count and both sign it.

How do I pay the money I've raised to CAFOD?

  • Make sure you break the seal on your collection tin with somebody else and ask them to count the cash you have collected with you
  • Once you have the cash counted, the simplest way to send your funds into CAFOD is to first pay them into your own bank account
  • You can then call our brilliant Supporter Care team on 0303 303 3030 to pay over the phone using a debit or credit card
  • You can also send us your payment through the post by making a cheque or postal order out to CAFOD and posting it to: CAFOD,Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7JB
  • Remember to send us your sponsorship form, collection envelopes or Gift Aid declaration slips so that we can claim any applicable Gift Aid as well.
  • Please include a cover note with your name and when and where you held your collection
  • Please don’t send us cash through the post! We want to make sure all of your donations go to our projects overseas and cash sent in this way too often gets lost
  • When you have finished with your collection tins, please send them back to our office. We can send them out with new seals so that other supporters can hold collections with them
  • If you have any questions or queries about paying in the money you have raised, please call our Supporter Care team on 0303 303 3030

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