As with any project, allocating enough time is crucial to the ultimate outcome and success of your NFM event. Start as early as is practically possible, work out how long it will take, and then double it! Remember that many of the volunteers you will need to help will have busy lives themselves and their time will be limited.
Do not try to do everything yourself; recruit other people and form an organising committee of no fewer than three and no greater than ten members who are willing to take on and deliver tasks. Identify, contact and involve other organisations such as angling clubs, conservation groups, youth organisations, local schools, local authorities and businesses.
Identify the skills and experience of your organising committee and assign specific tasks based on their strengths. Think about who is best placed to identify a suitable location, plan the running order of the day, organise registration, publicity, parking arrangements, food provision, organising volunteers and coaches and all other activities that will be essential for your event. Each committee member will be responsible for all planning details involved in that task.
Decide your target audience and/or choose an event from the list below or think of something different and fun that will maximise publicity opportunities and inspire people to attend. Don’t forget to complete the National Fishing Month Participation Form and post it to the address on the form.
In addition, spouses, parents and guardians could also be encouraged to take part. That way they can share the experience and you will increase the interest in your event.
Ensure you have identified potential hazards and taken measures to address them before the event. Do a further risk assessment on the day in order to ensure that actions have been carried out to your satisfaction. This is not as hard as it sounds!
Always have a first aid kit available on site during your NFM event. For larger events, ask a registered nurse to volunteer or approach your local British Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance to be in attendance. Their contact details can be accessed from the internet, Yellow Pages or similar directories under ‘Charitable & Voluntary’ organisations, or visit your local Library.
Floatation aids can be obtained from a number of suppliers
Remember to keep one copy for yourself and one for the injured party.
If the event is to last for several hours you may want to make refreshments available or advise participants to bring their own. You could enlist volunteers to put on a barbecue and soft drinks stalls to contribute towards the cost of the event. At large events, you could contact a local ice cream vendor or a burger van to be stationed on site for a couple of hours.
Check if the site owner’s policy covers your event or if it can easily be extended to do so. If not, contact a local insurance broker with details of your event - see Risk Assessment above.
The Environment Agency has generously agreed to issue temporary rod licences for all registered National Fishing Month events in England and Wales. As an event organiser, you do not need to contact the Environment Agency - simply by sending your completed National Fishing Month Participation Form, those who fish during your event will be automatically licensed. However, it is important you send ALL entrance forms for everyone who takes part in your event to the National Fishing Month address on the form. These completed forms will be forwarded to the Environment Agency. The Government demands this information in return for the Environment Agency granting the free temporary rod licences, so please provide the information and safeguard this vital concession.
If there are no toilets near to your venue, consider contacting a local hire company.
With your fellow organising committee members, agree the type and format of your event, set the date and agree realistic deadlines. Make sure everyone is aware of their individual responsibilities.
The type of event you are planning will obviously dictate site selection. Whether on water or off-water, ensure you obtain written permission early. If at a waterside venue, check if a licence is required and consider roping off the area to be used. If you are not sure of the availability or locations of local sites, contact a local angling club, fishing tackle retailer, local council or nearest Environment Agency Fisheries Development Officer.
Decide early how many people you can realistically accommodate, based upon the number of coaches and volunteers available. For example, if you are holding a ‘learn to fish’ clinic, you’ll need a ratio of one adult instructor per four students. Alternatively, if banks or room space is limited, you should consider pre-registering people or possibly running the event more than once.
To make the day a more ‘rounded’ environmental experience, consider bringing in specialist volunteers. For example, your local authority may have a biodiversity officer who can help identify various wild plant life species and evidence of mammal activity. A keen bird watcher could be ‘roped in’ to identify birds and bird song. An environmental enthusiast could be on hand to talk about possible pollution issues and a local farmer could talk about animal welfare. Safety organisations such as RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) could be invited to conduct waterside safety clinics.
Try to get local sponsorship to offset costs, or approach local specialist retailers to ask if they might take a small ‘exhibition’ area on the day of your event.
Participation forms can be completed in advance or on the day of the event in order to obtain all essential details about the participants. In either case, it is essential that consent forms for minors (under 18 years) are completed and authorised by a parent or guardian, including details such as pre-existing medical conditions, dietary requirements where necessary and emergency contacts. You should use the sample Participation Form in the manual for each and every participant and obtain their permission to send details to the address on the form.
Try local businesses or individuals for sponsorship to offset the cost of hiring halls or rooms for indoor events. If you cannot do this, charge a small entrance fee.
Ensure the site is cleared of all evidence of your event. If possible, make sure the site is left even cleaner and tidier than when you found it. Make this a priority as you may want to use the same venue next year! It is important that angling is not perceived to be a source of litter.
At children’s events every child should be given something as a lasting memento of the day. Contact local fishing tackle shops or local businesses for sponsorship or goody bags. Young people also love to receive some recognition of their participation, and an official looking certificate is a great way of rewarding them and ensuring your organisation is etched in their memory.
Check that the fishing tackle you need and any other equipment, including the safety equipment, is available and in good order. (Refer to ‘Safety at Events’ section for a list of essential safety items.)