I live in a relatively small town and this year I decided to hold a community event in August.
There has not been a community event in the summer for many years and I decided it was high time there was something. How difficult could it be to hold an event in our local park which involved nothing more than everyone getting together and a local company selling munchies?
It turns out it is not nearly as easy as it seems. First you have to book the park, which seems strange as it is open to the public so it’s not like we will have sole use of the area. Then you have to have public liability insurance up to £5m, what do they think is going to happen? Add to that the risk assessments and site plans that have to be drawn up and you are looking at a good few hours of paperwork.
Let’s not forget that if you want to do some activities and charge for them to recoup your costs, you need a public entertainment licence. Oh, but that has to be submitted to the council at least a month before hand so that the environmental people, police and fire can all make sure that paying to decorate some tote bags is safe.
What is the world coming to when a few community minded people have to jump through hoops and pay out of their own pocket to do something for the community? No wonder there are fewer and fewer community events nowadays. Who has the time or the inclination to fill in all the paperwork and be the responsible person for a £5m insurance policy?
The Government is so worried about social isolation that it has appointed a Minster for Loneliness. It would be much more effective if they stopped putting up barriers to community events run by local people for local people.