Are we in control of our fete?

A typical image of UK village, or in fact any community, life for me is a fete or other fundraising event. In my mental picture ‘stuff’ is collected from the dark recesses of people’s homes for sale alongside home made cakes and ably supported by an ancient toddlers’ roundabout and the inevitable raffle. Everyone works hard to create the event, stands in the hot sun all day (memories are always sunny) running their stall. The hard work of clearing away is then followed by counting a mountain of coins and the satisfaction of a successful community event and a profit raised for a good cause.
Now move to the 21st century and you are likely to find legislation has overtaken the event and a large proportion of the above is probably breaking the law. Did you carry out a risk assessment? Do you have the appropriate gaming license to cover your raffle? Were health and safety rules followed during the production and sale of Old Mrs B’s infamous chocolate brownies? Don’t even consider letting your event spill out into the street or a whole new level of laws will be waiting for you.
Local events are a key part of our communities and way of life but at the same time the public need to be protected from dodgy goods, dangerous rides and the salmonella of part barbecued chicken.
Where does the the line of pragmatism lie that protects us without stifling life and the ‘big society’?

Leave a Reply