Tips and tricks from last year’s Fun Palace makers:

Get started and begin thinking about how to get others involved.

Speak to other people in your community to see what they could do. Collaborate and go off topic. Local organisations can be a great source of networks and community links – they might get involved and help spread the word too. Our Fun Palace makers suggested getting community groups involved early on and to involve as many different groups and people as possible.

Choose your venue.

For some going out into the community or a popular area with passing footfall can mean more people stumble across a Fun Palace and take part. For others a well-known space in the community (such as a library or a museum) works better. Consider the facilities participants might need, things such as parking, toilets and refreshments. The makers suggested considering the size and type of space you might need too – is it something small and intimate or will you need more room for activities or materials? Is your Fun Palace indoor or outdoor? Think about the Cornish weather!

Make sure you have enough people to help on the day.

Certain roles can be helpful – for example having a ‘navigator’ to help people find out what’s going on in the space. And don’t forget the end of the day too – make sure that there are people to help with the tidying up too!

Think about the different people who might come along and take part.

You might have to encourage adults, especially if they are attending with children, and invite them to have a go too. Sometimes activities programmed at a certain time of the day can work well and encourage people to plan their visit around that. Make sure you balance the activity with a chance for people to relax, chat or simply soak up the atmosphere.

Be visible.

Do whatever you can to let people know that something brilliant is happening. Our makers have used bubble machines, balloons and even a samba band to draw a crowd.

Brilliant activities make for fantastic Fun Palaces.

Think about what hands-on activities you can offer that work for all ages and abilities. Activities that mix art and science and are suitable for various ages and levels work particularly well. Participants like having lots of choice, with different stations and activities planned. Things that have a personal connection to the community work well, as well things that are unusual and quirky or that people might not usually get to try.

Follow up with people who took part or got involved.

Some Fun Palaces plan an element of legacy into the activities, others simply chat to others in the community when they next bump into them. It’s great to hear what people thought – and you may be surprised by how much they remembered about the day.

Capture what you can, when you can.

We are trying to gather as much data about Fun Palaces as possible and one of the best ways of doing this is to get feedback directly from participants. It can sometimes be difficult to find the best time to do this, particularly when people are busy having fun and taking part in the activities you have to offer. Sometimes assigning a volunteer to be responsible for this can help – either by tasking them to encourage people to fill in the paper or online survey or by taking photos or videos. Other Fun Palace makers talked about other more creative ways in which you can capture the immediate response to the event. For everyone the key is to capture what you can, when you can – having a few strategies for how you might do this before your Fun Palace gets underway helps.