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How All Events Can Be ‘Benefit’ Events for Local Communities

Last updated November 23rd, 2020

Although events – particularly the red-carpet types – which aim to raise funds are usually known as ‘benefit’ events, the fact is that any type of event could offer benefits to the communities around the event’s local area. So, how does that work – and why?

Bringing communities together

Involvement and engagement are key to the success of any event and an organised event, whether high profile or low key, can certainly bring the local community together, if only by the fact of offering a venue and central focus for activities, but usually much more.
Whatever the type of event or purpose in running it, an event can help to facilitate local awareness, act as a vehicle or starting point for involvement or change or, just as a corporate event aims to build a team, a community event can literally help to build community spirit. An event which has a specific ‘community’ addition, such as sending out free invitations to locals or having a ‘locals only’ session can also really help to get the community together and engaged in the wider purposes of the event.

Raising the profile of the area

One of the many things that the London Olympics in 2012 taught us is how events can raise the profile of an area. Now, whilst the Olympics involved considerable investment over a longer period of time, the fact is that it only takes one or two large events (which don’t have to be sports based either) taking place consistently in the UK events calendar, to put a town, city or region firmly on the map. Once this happens, with or without long-term investment into the event itself, wider economic benefits ripple through the area: from retailers, hoteliers, pubs and restaurants to local cultural venues which enjoy an uptake in visitors and can even result in additional local jobs, especially if the event is large and well-known enough – Glastonbury festival is certainly an example!
However, even if the event is relatively smaller than Glastonbury, if it’s regularly held, it can still have an impact on the profile of the area. Hastings, for example is now so well known for its Jack-in-the Green May Day festival, held every May Day weekend, that year-on-year the event significantly boosts local tourism, raises funds for charities including the RNLI and is now as widely reported as the Virgin Atlantic official blog pages!

Through giving back

A big event can of course present a bit of a headache to local communities, from traffic congestion and parking nightmares to possible additional noise – for every positive impact, there’s bound to be something which affects local life in something of a negative way! However, this is something which event holders, particularly those major ones, are aware of and keen to redress, by giving back to the local communities with charitable donations and works.
Those behind the Glastonbury Festival are a good example of this kind of positive action to benefit the communities hosting the event. By involving themselves in the building of local housing projects and repairs to community amenities, Glastonbury organisers aim that the festival should actively benefit the local community, as well as raise funds for local charities, national charities such as RNIB and The Stroke Association and international charities such as Oxfam and Greenpeace.

Small event, big impact

Even small group events like corporate away-days and team-building activities can benefit communities in ways which are often surprising to participants.

Finally, whether an event is large or small, it can have a real purpose in raising community-wide awareness about local issues. Take those smaller team-building days which involve charitable or conservation volunteering, for example. Such events help to raise participant awareness of the existence of local charities and the struggles some charitable and conservation trusts endure, as well as the aims they have. This strand of event education offers the additional benefit of encouraging participants not to just involve themselves in the event, but also in their community, a real long-term benefit.

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