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Planning your event for The Big Help Out

Get ready for The Big Help Out with our top tips and guidance for planning your event

Updated Thursday 16 March 2023

The Big Help Out is a national day of volunteering happening on Monday 8 May 2023. It’s about inspiring a new generation of volunteers and is set to be one of the centrepieces of the celebrations for the Coronation of HM The King and HM The Queen Consort.

It’s a golden opportunity for Scouts to be seen in local communities, to meet local families not yet involved and start conversations with potential volunteers.

Groups, District and Counties across the UK are encouraged to put on some pop up activities in public places and create opportunities for new people to try out volunteering.

If you and your team are thinking of running an event, here’s a ready-made project plan to help you prepare:

Graphic logo for The Big Help Out

Register your event

Once you've got your plan for Monday 8 May, register your event on the DoIt app as an event organiser so that potential volunteers can find out all about it. 

All of the promotion for The Big Help Out is directing people to the app to discover available volunteering opportunities.

Register an event
  • To speak to all different people across the community
  • To promote volunteering opportunities to people we do not usually speak to
  • To sign up new volunteers to our opportunities
  • To plan an event, to be held in a public space within your postcode area. To run Scouting activities (perhaps including some adventurous activities like a climbing wall) to encourage families to try Scouts for the first time. This may or may not be part of a bigger, public event with other partners.
  • To work in partnership on an open event within your postcode area – where attendees have a Big Help Out passport and visit all the stalls to learn about the activities and opportunities available to new people interested in volunteering with any of the organisations.
  • To work in direct partnership with one or more organisations taking part in The Big Help Out, within your postcode area – to help get Scouts seen and heard.
  • Form a stakeholder group and appoint a project lead to make sure the event and activities are planned well, and run successfully.
  • Take a look at the advice for an open event which you’ll be able to adapt for this.
  • Decide where you’re running the event – ideally in a public place where plenty of people will already be.
  • Decide when you’re putting it on, what day (please aim for Monday 8 May if possible) what times and how long for. This will all help you work out how much help you’ll need.
  • Is it part of a bigger event, for example run by the town council? Make contact and let them know what you’re planning. They’ll be able to advise on regulations and what’s already planned for the day.

The Big Help Out events give families a chance to try activities and think about taking the next step to join Scouts. It may also encourage adults to take the first steps in volunteering themselves.

Now’s the time to think about how you and your team might use Monday 8 May to recruit.

  • Start asking for people’s interest. We all know working with a team of people can make life easier when managing an event.
  • Build a strong team structure. You might want to think about making a smaller core team to the manage the event, with lots of helpers on the day. Or you could use small teams with a team leader reporting back or representing each area.
  • Make sure everyone knows and understands their role and responsibilities. You could meet regularly and use online meetings tools, so everyone can make it work for them.

After you’ve got a team in place, create a budget for the day. Allow contingency for any unpredicted expenses.

The Big Help Out’s there to let the wider public get a taste of Scouts for free, so there won’t be any income.

  • Map out the costs of putting on your event. Make a spreadsheet of everything you will need to pay for.
  • Identify savings you can make. Find areas you can save on that don't affect the overall experience and objectives.
  • Talk with your Districts and Counties/Areas/Regions about the plans. Find out what money there may be available to support this event locally, especially as it’s a fantastic recruitment opportunity.

A Scouts Big Help Out event can be big or small. It can take place anywhere that communities can get together – from parks and town centres, to community spaces and streets.

Think about the spaces local to you that often have high footfall of public, especially on a May bank holiday weekend. They also need to accommodate the Scout activities you want to offer, too.

  • Talk to your local council or community venue owners. You may need a licence or a permit for your event, especially if there are road closures, such as for a street party.
  • Look for other local events already happening. Check if there are other local events planned over the weekend that Scouts could have a space at.
  • Make your event accessible. Think about things such as disabled access, public toilets, emergency services access, car parking and public transport links.
  • Contact your Lord Lieutenant. This is the Monarch’s personal representative in each lieutenancy around the UK. Explain your plan for your Big Help Out event, and how it'll be an important part of the Coronation weekend. Emphasise that it’s celebrating and encouraging community volunteering and good service. They'll be able to offer advice and support with local authorities to help make it happen.
  • Accessible. Create a pop-up Scouts experience you want to offer activities that look fun and are accessible for families to do together.
  • Fun. Depending on your location and resources available, you could do grass sledging in a park, play giant Jenga at a community centre or set up a mobile climbing wall in a town centre. You could run traditional bushcraft as part of a local community event or show off campfire cooking at a nearby food festival that may be on that weekend. The list is endless!
  • Easy. Think about what access you may have to equipment from local groups and campsites, or if you’ve the budget, you can consider hiring in activities for the day. Check out some of our activity ideas.
  • Marquee or shelter (Scouts branded if possible)
  • Activity equipment
  • Items for your stall or display. Could you borrow equipment from your District or County?
  • Items to give away – such as leaflets from the Brand Centre
  • Budget for the event. Work out who is paying/donating for what and look at the possibility of sponsorship from local businesses. This’ll also encourage them to promote the event to their staff and families.
  • How many people will you need on the day? Will they be there all day or take turns supporting the event/activities? Several volunteers will be needed to run the activities, staff the stall if you have one, and hold adult recruitment conversations.
  • Decide who’ll be running and supporting the promotional stall. Make sure they’re all personable and comfortable chatting with different kinds of people. Can you include young people (perhaps Young Leaders) too?
  • Will there be people taking it in turns to give others a break?
  • Read our top tips for recruiting at events.
  • Do you need to look for funding/grants or in kind donations, to achieve your objectives?

Head over to the Brand Centre where you’ll find a selection of templates ready to use to support The Big Help Out. It’s free to register for the brand centre if you haven’t already. You can either order printed materials, or create and order a high res PDF which will be sent to email inbox for you to print.

  • Share your Big Help Out promo posters on social media and in the local area to get the word out about your event to as wide an audience as possible
  • Think about how you’ll appeal to diverse communities
    • Look at mosques, synagogues, churches, Buddhist temples etc (don’t just go with what you know; make contact with faith leaders and work together).
    • Use local community networks to expand your own network, reaching out to the council/parish councils, and other voluntary organisations in the community.
  • Use social media before and during the event/activity
    • Look at the Brand Centre for Facebook Banners, Twitter banners and profile pictures you can adapt and use, as well as graphics shared on Scouts' social media 
    • Send out leaflets to relevant groups and area groups on social media to get the word out
    • Read this advice for attracting new volunteers
  • Run the event with other charities and promote it together
    • Get them to share the flyer, social media post with their audiences as well
  • Use your networks to promote your event. For example, you could ask your young people to promote through their schools, networks and social media platforms
    • See if schools/nurseries/childcare facilities can share details in their newsletters/email updates
    • Make contact with your local sports clubs and see if they’ll promote it too
    • Ask local universities and colleges to do the same (volunteer experience will look good in the CV of university students and some will need to do this for their courses)
  • Contact local media outlets – especially local newspapers
  • Ask the local council if they can include details in their newsletters or on their websites
  • Speak to those who manage local community spaces – could they provide space for you to hold the event, or even just wall space promote it? These could include:
    • Sports centres
    • Shopping centres
    • Parks
    • Historical locations
  • Contact local businesses in the area (who may contribute and want to build their brand awareness too – but make sure it’s a suitable business to be seen alongside a children’s charity)

There are two very important safety factors when it comes to running your day: trying to prevent something going wrong, and getting cover for it in case it does.

Here are some tips for keeping safe:

We all know music and videos can really make an event come to life. If your event’s likely to feature live or recorded music (even if it’s background music) or video, you may need various licences. Remember to check what you’ll need in advance, so you’ll have everything sorted.

There are two separate licensing bodies you can use to protect music as intellectual property:

  • PPL UK licenses groups to play recorded music at public events, with some of the fees going to the recording artists and record companies.  
  • PRS for Music licences groups to play live or recorded music at public events that’s still in copyright, with some of the fees going to composers. 

Whether you need one or both licences will depend on several factors. You may be able to avoid one, or both fees, if:

  • You use only specially recorded copyright-free music  
  • Either the person playing the music or the venue you're using has the relevant licences themselves
  • Your event is private (which won’t be the case for The Big Help Out) 

If anyone at your event is showing a video, film clip, DVD or TV programme, motion picture licences and permissions may be required. The top tip here is not to do this unless your event depends on it. You can always show videos from our Scouts YouTube channel. 

Be creative and think of ways you could put on an event with a local branch of another charity. For example:

  • If St John Ambulance was thinking of being part of The Big Help Out, and running an event on the day too, you could work with them to demonstrate some basic first aid techniques – with a stall to promote Scouts volunteering.
  • Groups near an RNLI station could put on a joint display to show what RNLI do. It could also enable people to learn about Sea Scouts and our watersport badges too.

Start conversations and see where they take you.


Before the event

  • Make sure you’ve planned the activities well and everyone knows what their role is.
  • Carry out risk assessments and make sure they’re shared with everyone, including any partners.
  • Create an online form to take people’s details that are interested in volunteering. You could use Google Forms as it’s free. Get a QR code for the form so people can easily scan the code and fill the form out on their mobile phone.
  • Keep the questions simple on your form and follow the same structure as our Volunteer Enquiry form.
  • Decide who’ll follow up the enquiries you receive. Is there a choice of email, phone call, or maybe an online meeting to talk to many people at once about volunteering opportunities in your area?
  • Make sure your event is registered on the DoIt app.

During the event

  • Bring some photo release forms so you can use the photos from your event to tell people what you've done.
  • Write up an article for the local paper, website or social media.
  • Ask those who expressed an interest in volunteering what kind of opportunity they think they might enjoy or what skills they already have that could be used.
  • Make sure potential volunteers complete your Volunteer Enquiry form.

After the event

  • Follow up on any enquiries as quickly as possible and using their preferred contact method (email, phone call, online workshop etc.)
  • Remember, you might need more than one conversation before new adults are willing to sign up – maybe look at running 4-week challenges or 4-step challenges in local groups. Work out who could do this and in which group (even if the potential new adult ends up volunteering at a different one).
  • Run a district social event such as a BBQ and invite the potential new volunteers to it (and maybe run an adult talk here as well).
  • Match the potential new volunteer to the right opportunity, suitable for their skills and interests. It’s important that the opportunity is what the new adult is looking for and not just to fill gaps.

Resources for The Big Help Out

We’ve added some great resources to the Scouts Brand Centre to support your Big Help Out event. These include recruitment flyers, posters, presentations, logos, banners and feather flags.

Visit the Scouts Brand Centre