Here we have compiled together guidance and resources for running your own wellbeing events.
What is safeguarding?
‘Safeguarding refers to the process, practice and culture embedded within an organisation to create a safe environment where children, young people and adults at risk are free from all forms of harm, abuse or neglect.’ – definition from the Safeguarding Alliance 2020.
If you are running an event through an organisation then you will need to understand their policy and requirements (in regards to if you will need a disclosure and baring service (DBS formerly called a CBR check) and at what level).
Safeguarding – Active Devon – Active Devon have some useful information you can find here.
It is important you make sure you have the correct insurance for your event.
In general most events will need public liability insurance. This covers things like accidental injury, illness or death of a member of the public, and damage or loss of public property. Make sure you consider what other insurance you might need. This could include insurance for equipment used for the event, employers’ liability and if the event has to be cancelled.
Risk assessments are a really important tool which enables you to check you have covered everything you need to for your event. It should be done in plenty of time to allow you to make any necessary adaptations. When choosing the site you are going to do check if it is a SSSI/protected area. Whilst running an activity you want everyone to enjoy it, but also not to accidentally trample on a special plant etc.
As part of your risk assessment you will need to make sure it is clear who is the first aider. The European Centre for Environment and Human Health published a handbook for Nature on Prescription in which they strongly recommend people running wellbeing activities to have also done a mental health first aid course.
Here we have highlighted a few suggestions to include in your risk assessment.
- It is important to do a site visit first, especially if the site is not known to you. You need to be aware if there are areas without phone signal, in case you need to make a call for help, the condition of the site/route to make sure you don’t walk people along a dangerous or unclear section, and so you don’t get lost with your group.
- Think about where you are going to meet and greet your attendees, and to deliver the event briefing. Many events start in a car park. However although it is useful to tell people where the closest parking is please consider your group not gathering in a car park but in a traffic free area close by.
- If you are in a woodland/walking near trees do make sure you risk assess the impact of ash die back. Places in Devon have closed footpaths to the public as they are deemed too risky due to ash die back.
- Do have a think about what facilities are available. By running an event where these is no nearby toilet you may be excluding people who could otherwise attend.
- Do follow any of the latest government and Public Health guidance. Every year Public Health England publishes guidance on ticks in the countryside – make sure you are aware of what information you need to share with people Tick bite risks and prevention of Lyme disease: resources – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Please see a risk assessment template. This risk assessment is not exhaustive and you will need to make sure it covers everything your organisation needs.
Plantlife: Building Resilience resources Plantlife have created a woodland survey activity pack and educators resource.
Investigate at School – Primary | Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk) The Natural History Museum have put together a ‘specimen’ resource, which can be any object you can find outside, from a leaf to a feather.
Tree Tools for Schools – Woodland Trust The woodland trust has lots of resources on their ‘Trees for Schools’ site (including some really good spotter sheets, handy for adult groups too)
Schools’ Wild Challenge – The RSPB The RSPB have a ‘Schools’ Wild Challenge’ with lots of great resources
River Academy Home – Westcountry Rivers Trust (wrt.org.uk) Westcountry rivers trust school resources page
If your event is for the general public you need to think about how to get it out to them. Eventbrite has some useful advice you can find here. Social media is a very powerful tool at doing this, but you still need to put some thought into it to target your specific audience.
There are many Facebook community groups. You can search for appropriate groups and contact them to ask if they would be willing to share your event details. Make sure you keep the information concise and include attractive imagery.
You can ask local organisations to share your event through their mailing list or regular newsletter. Again think about who you approach and if your event is something they would be willing to share.
- Do consider using social media, and finding suitable local community groups to contact to target your audience. Posting it on your own page may not get it to the right group of people.
- Do use eye catching images. If you don’t have any yourself you can use Google images or Flickr to find images. Make sure you check the usage rights, and if you need to credit the creator of the image.
- Don’t rely just on social media. Think about creating flyers and posting them in relevant places, such as parish, church, local shop, and supermarket noticeboards. You can get creative using online free tools (such as canva.com) or make them yourself with pen and paper.
How do you know your event was a success? Were there things that worked well and things you would like to do differently for next time?
There are lots of different ways you can evaluate your event. If you are from a teaching background then you will be aware of reflective practice and can create a reflective journal of your events. This is to help you evaluate from your own experience. Please see a draft reflection template here with a brief example.
You may also want to find out how your participants found the event. You can do this my creating a survey (please see the Active Devon participant feedback form for Naturally Healthy). You must be careful what information you collect from participants as there is legislation around what you can collect and also how you store that information. Please see the government guidance here. Really think about what information you would find useful – you don’t necessarily need to know where the person lives, or what education they have had, but you might find it useful to know age categories, and what they did and didn’t enjoy.