Renfrewshire Council

Organising a local event

We have advice and tips on how to make sure your event runs smoothly.

We're delighted that you are organising a local event in Renfrewshire.

We want to make it as easy as possible for you. We've provided some advice about organising your event.

You can also use our checklist and other useful documents. They are in the Related Documents section.

If you'd like to speak to us about organising local events, email

Read more:


Getting started

An event is an organised activity that invites members of the public to attend, either for free or for a charge.

There are many types of events and many places and venues that events can take place, on either public or private land.

An event could be a:

  • Community celebration such as a street party or gala day
  • Sporting event such as a fun run, Santa dash or 5k 
  • Food-themed event such as a farmers' market, beer festival or food festival
  • Charity fundraising event
  • Road-based activity such as a parade, procession or march
  • Christmas lights switch-on

Some key questions when you start planning your event:

  • Why are you holding this event? What are the goals and objectives?
  • Who are the main stakeholders? Who are your target audiences? Who should you consult with and seek permission from?
  • How will you fund the event and how much will it cost to run? How do you apply for permission to hold the event? How will you recruit a team to deliver the event—will these be volunteers, professionals or a committee?
  • Where will the event take place and do you need permission to use the space or funding to hire a venue? Where and how will you promote the event to attract your target audience?
  • When will the event take place? Daytime, evening, summer, winter? 
  • What is your event? What permissions do you need to hold the event? What activities will you have at the event and how do you organise these? The type of entertainment and activities you plan will may need different permissions and licences.

Licensing and permissions

You need to consider the permissions and licences required to legally hold your event.

Even if your event is free to the public, it might need a licence.

These types of activities/events need to be licenced in Renfrewshire:

  • Open-air concerts
  • Circuses
  • Cinema screenings
  • Fairgrounds
  • Large fetes with tented accommodation for the public
  • Concert halls
  • Firework displays
  • Live performances
  • Musical shows
  • Paintball games
  • Bungee jumping/Bungee running
  • Motor shows
  • Parades and public processions

You can get more information about the types of events that need a licence and how to apply on our Entertainment Licences page.

Before making an application, read the guidance information provided. These type of applications should be submitted as soon as possible - say, six months prior to the proposed event date, but no less than 12 weeks. 

Applicants are required to display a public notice along with the application for a period of 21 days from the date the application is lodged. 

Other permits or licences you may require:


Securing funding for your event is really important. There are local and national funds available specifically for events.

Engage Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire Council's Invest in Renfrewshire (Communities) team can both help you make an application

You will be asked to set out the objectives of your event and explain how these achieve and support the aims of the funders.

Many funders will look for match funding. Match funding is where a funder will offer an equal amount of funding to an already confirmed amount. For example, if you know you have local business sponsorship totalling £5,000, you could apply for £5,000 match funding. Funders often look more favourably on events with existing financial support.

You will need to consider funding deadlines. Some organisations have funding available all year round - others have set deadlines throughout the year.

National Lottery Community Fund

This fund is for projects and activities that make communities stronger and more vibrant, and are led by the people who live in them. They support charities, community groups, and people with great ideas—local or national, large or small. 

You can get more information from the National Lottery Community Fund website. You can also contact or call 0300 123 7110.


This is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money. You can set up a profile for your event and set a target for funding.

Crowdfunding works well if you have a strong social media network and the ability to quickly connect with people across the world. The more eye-catching or unusual your project is, the more likely it is to attract interest. 

There are many sites that you can choose to develop your crowd funding campaign. You can compare the options on this Crowdfunding website.

Culture, Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF)

This is a fund for artists, organisations and communities with projects and events tacross Renfrewshire. It is administered in partnership between Renfrewshire Council and OneRen.

You can find out more on our Culture, Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF) page.

Programming your event

The programme is the activities that people can take part in and experience. This could be anything from a live stage with bands or performers, workshops, come-and-try sessions, markets, or any other activity you have planned.

There are key things you should consider.


You might want to choose a theme to tie in with local and national contexts, that is relevant to your place or that helps to tell the story of your event. For example, the Sma' Shot Day event in Paisley relates to the textile and weaving history of the town.

Consider key anniversaries locally and nationally; national and international days, weeks and months such as St Andrew's Day, Burns' Night, Halloween, World Book Day, or Black History Month; and national programmes such as Visit Scotland's themed years. 

Showcasing the talents of the local community

You may want to connect with cultural organisations, arts groups and artists, heritage and history groups, schools, further education institutions and choirs. Highlight what is unique and authentic to your place - in the built environment (buildings, monuments etc), food and drink (local recipes and traditions) and local stories.

Local businesses

Involving local businesses in event planning and as part of the day will add value to your event. It could help generate footfall and income. A local business may provide sponsorship for live performances, or operate a stall providing food and drink to visitors.

Be inclusive 

Inclusion means making sure everyone can take part and experience your event. It is an important aspect of event planning.

Key things to consider:

  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible event spaces
  • Quiet spaces that are autism-friendly
  • Dementia-friendly events
  • British Sign Language signing for films and performances
  • Interpreters or translation of publicity into other languages
  • Volunteering and mentorship opportunities for local people

Get to know your audience

Design your event with your audience in mind.

Consult with your community. Find out what they want to do or would like to see at local events and who would be willing to help plan and deliver the event. This is a great way to generate ideas and find volunteers.

Evaluate any events you do to find out what people enjoyed most or didn't like. This will help with future planning. Volunteers can help with this.

Encourage your group members to go and see other events for inspiration and ideas. Meet with organisations outwith your area.

Promoting your event

In advance of your event

Remind yourself of your audience. Who do you want to come to your event? What is it about your event that would make them want to come? 

Set a budget to promote your event. As a rule of thumb, this should be around 10% of your total event costs. But don't panic if you don't have that much to spend—there are loads of free channels you can use to promote your event.

Decide what you want to say about your event. Identify the channels you will use to reach your audience. 

Finally, create a timeline. Work backwards from the date of your event. This should include any big milestones in the run-up to your event, when you would start your promotions, and when you want to announce your event.

In the weeks leading up to your event 

As your event gets closer, people are looking for practical information.

Share information on how to get to the event. Remember, people might be using different methods of transport so provide information for people traveling by bus, train and car. Provide information about parking and if there any road closures.

Consider preparing a list of Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) and their answers, such as: Will there be toilets? Can I bring my dog? Will there be somewhere I can buy food? Answering these now may save you time as the event approaches.

Try sending out a preview media release, pictures and/or film to local media (newspapers, social media groups, and so on). 

It's a good idea to consider all scenarios for your event. Plan messages if the event has to be cancelled at the last minute, for example, if bad weather meant your event could no longer go ahead.

On the day/after the event

All your plans should be in place for a really good event. You will have prepared your event day schedule and your contingency plans are in place, just in case.

Be online a couple of hours before the event begins to start the pre-event buzz on social media. Answer any questions and encourage any last-minute deciders to come along to your event.

Use social media to show how well your event has gone. Use Instagram and Facebook stories and Snapchat to show a real timeline of the day from set up to the event finale. Decide on an event hashtag and use where possible. Create a Facebook photo album and encourage attendees to tag and share pictures of themselves. Remember to share content from people who have posted about your event and give them a thumbs up.

Send out a media release highlighting the success of your event. Say how many people attended, include a quote from one of the organisers or an act taking part and share some of your best pictures of the day. Keep a record of all your media coverage. 


Digital channels are a great way to spread the word about your event. They allow you to get your message to the right audience for a minimal cost, or even free—and you can measure how effective your activity has been.

Be social—create a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and/or blog account. Create an event page on Facebook and invite people you know to join it. Create a hashtag # for your event and use it on Twitter and Instagram. 

Ask volunteers to share details on their own social media networks, and thank them when they do. Provide facts about your event that people can share. Ask volunteers to submit videos, pictures or a written piece of content for your channels and share it. Run mini-competitions before the event.

Post your event on websites which have a list of things to do in the local area. Share your event information on local community pages on Facebook.

The website is a great place to advertise your event. It has a What's On listing powered by Data Thistle and The List—this also populates other websites, including VisitScotland, with events information, so adding your event means it will appear on the website and potentially some of others - we recommend you do this. You can upload your event on the Data Thistle website.

If you have budget, consider creating adverts on your social media channels to widen your reach, or perhaps pay for in Google Ads to promote your website. If you are developing an event that you want to happen in future years, you might want to create an event website.


Printing promotional materials to advertise your event can be expensive. Think carefully before doing this and only print what you know you will use.

Remember to include your key information in any printed materials. This should include what is happening, when, any ticket costs, and a link to your webpage.

Ask local businesses in advance if they would be willing to display your event poster. Use both sides of any flyers. 

Get a team of volunteers to help you distribute your flyers and posters. Send your flyer to people that may have attended your event before. Hand-deliver flyers through the letterbox of areas or streets you know you would like to attract to your event.

Create a list of local clubs such as bowling, Brownies, Scouts and ask them if they will take posters or leaflets. Hand out your flyers at any events which are taking place ahead of yours - remember to ask the event organisers permission first.  Ask to set up an information table in your local supermarket. Check out any local noticeboards you can display your poster on. 


Make a list of local newspapers, magazines and social media groups in Renfrewshire  and contact them to let them know about your event. Write a media release and send to them.

Good pictures and video content can help attract publicity for your event.Ask a local celebrity to back your event. Contact local radio and ask them if they would like to interview you.

If your budget allows, buy adverts in your local newspaper or magazines. Remember when booking adverts in newspapers, newsletters or magazines to check the deadlines.

Evaluating your event

It is important to take some time after your event to evaluate what went well, what didn't go so well and what can be done to improve future events.

The best form of feedback is from those who attended and your delivery team. This can be captured on the day by surveying attendees, or in a post-event survey if you have contact details for your visitors.

It is good practice to find out where your visitors travelled from, their overall opinion on the event, value for money, views on the programme of activity, if they would be likely to return and what else they would like to see as part of the event.

Feedback should then be used to shape future events. Event evaluations can also strengthen future funding applications. If you are able to show how many people attended  where they came from, the likelihood that they will return and any impacts your event has had on the local area, you may be able to attract business sponsorship.