Picking the right spot for your charity firewalk is one of the biggest tasks you’ll have on your plate as a fundraiser.
You want it to be safe, you want it to be accessible and easy to get to, you also will have a list of requirements from us.
Taking us out the picture, here’s a three points to ponder over:
1. Public or Private Space?
What’s the difference? Well, a public space is anywhere that has a right of access to members of the public: a council owned park, a main street, a public car park and such. A private space is owned by an individual or group, and the public need permission to have access.
We won’t lie, choosing a public space can be a little more tricky that private. You will need permission and you will need to have conversations with the high bods that be, you’ll probably have to get a license or permit, they will carry out risk assessments, they’ll want to make sure that your event is meeting all their Public Safety rules and guidelines.
However, it has it’s plus points. Once you tell people what you are doing, they will usually bend over backwards to make sure your event is a success.
Remember the point of contact is probably going to be responsible for all public events that go on in the area, so they will know exactly what needs arranged and will guide you through, and we bet they won’t blink twice at a firewalk!
People that arrange walks in public areas usually find that a lot of the ‘risk, health and safety and paperwork’ is taken out their hands. You just need to make sure that you follow their advice to the letter, and of course we talk to them a lot before hand too.
The other plus for a public space is the buzz you can create around your event, it may be easier to promote your event because you’ll get curious local people popping aling and you will have the opportunity to share your message and event with people just passing on through at the time.
A private space is different. You’ll still need to carry out all the health and safety bits, but you’ll probably find you’re only dealing with one person, it makes organising a little easier. You can invite people to the space, you can even ticket your event. If the space is large enough you can have other things going on that add to the fundraising: you can do that with a public space, but remember that is a lot of organising!
2. The Firewalk Area
A firewalk can be built on almost any surface, we just need to know beforehand exactly what that surface is.
It needs to be clean. What do we mean? Well, it needs to be free from objects that could cause a person injury. We can cover the walk area with turf, but we need to make sure the surrounding area (at least 40ft either side) is free from hazards: branches, buildings, fences, cars etc.
If you’re choosing grass, then there needs to be grass, a muddy patch isn’t grass. Slips are a hazard if the ground is really wet.
And you’ll need to factor in space for spectators and crowds.
Is there enough space for the walk area, the walkers, the crowd with a little bit left over?
3. Access to …
Water: yes, we need to put the fire out at the end. When looking at your venue it’s good to ask if they have an outside tap, or easy access to water. If they have a tap, do they have a hose to reach the firewalk area?
A seminar room: this is needed for the pre-walk seminar. No more than a 5 minute walk away. Yes, it can be in a different building. But it needs the same safety checks: well lit, free from hazards, fire-exits etc.
Before you even think about the venue ask yourself about the type of event you want to create. Do you want it open for the world to see (public), do you want something more intimate (private?), are you looking to create an event for walkers and their family and friends only? Do you want to raise your profile more?