If you’re thinking about organising an event for the Great Get Together, you’re probably keen to hear advice from people who have organised something before! This week, we caught up with Near Neighbours co-ordinator Ruth Burgess, about a recent International Women’s Day event which she helped organise in Smethwick.

This one-day event brought together women from different faith backgrounds in the local area. This included the Abrahamic Foundation, the Al-Nisa group from the Yemeni Centre in West Bromwich, and Holy Trinity Smethwick. Their event celebrated International Women’s Day by involving attendees in a number of different crafts – from banner making, to scarf printing, to geometric art. There was also henna, dance and poetry reading; truly something for everybody!

Below are a few tips from Ruth that will help you plan your Great Get Together Event…

Get a planning group together

Ruth recommended getting a small planning group together before your event to help make the key decisions. Meeting up with different groups who might want to be involved in your event will make them feel included and give people ownership of the event. You don’t want one person to be overburdened with all the work! If you’re planning a street party, this group might include a few local residents, for example. If you’re organising something involving larger organisations or community groups, make sure they’re all involved in making decisions.

Think about a theme

Another thing to bear in mind is having a theme to your event. At the International Women’s Day celebration, the theme was crafts. This gave people something to actively get involved in and an opportunity to work together. Having a theme helps keep your event focused; if you’re hosting a Great Get Together event, why not consider making your communities’ shared history, food or favourite sport a focus?

Have a key moment

Try to have a key moment in your event when everyone can come together. Having events where people can drop in and out is lovely, but it is these moments of unity and togetherness that help build communities. This could be something as simple as all gathering together for a picture! Having a moment which acts as a pinnacle of the event helps people to feel like they’ve done much more than just attend – they’ve been a part of something.

What can I do next?

Your event went well, and you had a brilliant time – but now what? Consider where you can go from here. Real friendships blossom and communities made stronger when relationships are built over time. Have a think about whether you could involve people in local coffee mornings or meet ups. The people involved in the IWD celebration regularly meet up for craft activities and have become firm friends – could a more connected community come about as the result of your Great Get Together?

Banner image courtesy of NSDT.