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Weather forecast

Wet weather plans

To say that the weather in the UK is unpredictable would be an understatement! Should we be preparing for rain or a heat wave (or both!)? If it isn't enough to organise a myriad of attractions and to find enough volunteers to run them, you need to think about a wet weather contingency plan too!

Consider your options and agree a date (based on the latest weather reports) on which a decision will be taken. Get the latest weather information from the Met Office on Twitter. If your event cannot be held outdoors, do you have an alternative indoor venue or will the event have to be cancelled?

Go ahead, postpone or cancel?

The main things to consider when rain is forecast are do you have enough room indoors for the main money-making stalls and will people come along? If attendance is likely to be down and your most profitable stalls are the BBQ and bouncy castle, can you postpone your event? If you promote an alternative date early enough, then hopefully people will have kept the date free (to both attend and volunteer!). If you have no alternative but to cancel, make sure that anything you buy is purchased on a sale or return basis. Get non-perishable prizes for stalls that are not season specific, allowing them to be stored and used for future events.

Location, location, location

Assuming you decide to go ahead, consider whether stalls could be moved onto hard standing such as a carpark or playground (to mitigate against mud and slip hazards), or will everything need to be moved indoors? If we only have drizzle and there are no high winds, waterproof gazebos should provide sufficient protection from the worst of the weather, but these will need to be secured in place. Obviously bear in mind potential hazards caused by any electrical devices that are exposed to the elements.

Moving indoors

There will undoubtedly be some restrictions on moving your entire event indoors, i.e. coconut shies cannot be staked; welly wanging needs sufficient space; limited numbers in case of overcrowding. Divide your list of stalls/attractions into those that will go ahead in fine weather and those that can be moved indoors if it rains.

Attractions

Rain and/or high winds will present a problem for bouncy castles, climbing walls and similar attractions. If you are booking something like this from an external supplier, check what alternative solutions they can offer in the event of inclement weather. Some may allow you to postpone your booking to an alternative date, others may be able to provide a different attraction more suited to indoor use (space allowing). Check cancellation policies.

External stallholders/performers

When selling space to stallholders (or arranging for external performers to attend your event), make your wet weather policy clear in agreement documents. If you plan to go ahead outdoors whatever the weather, then use wording along the lines of, 'The fair goes ahead no matter what the weather, so come prepared with rain or sun protection. There will be no refunds made in the event of inclement weather.' Give external suppliers a contact number for enquiries and let them know when a decision will be made, i.e. by 5pm two days prior to the event.

Risk assessment and site plans

Bear in mind that any decision to move your event (from it's original location) will need to be taken with enough time to carry out a risk assessment. You may be able to speed up this process by having two site plans prepared. This should include:

  • routes in and out
  • stalls/attractions
  • performance arena
  • first aid and lost children points
  • communication between marshals

We'd love to hear what plans you put in place, so please email the Let's Get Fundraising team.


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