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How Do I Get An Alcohol Licence For My Event (and other paperwork you may not know about)

A group of people gather around a table with candles.

So you are running a Firewalk with us and have decided to expand the scope of the day. Many groups will run a fun event alongside a Firewalk with us, for friends and relatives who want to watch their loved ones walk the fires.

We wrote a full post about how to leverage this event to raise even more funds for your cause, and selling booze is one. (LINK HERE)

Unless the venue you have chosen has a licence to sell alcohol, you MUST apply to the council in order to do this. If you don’t, you are breaking the law. Don’t panic, it’s not that hard, though it can sometimes be a bit of a rabbit hole filled with confusing contradictions. If there is a left brainer in your organisation, someone who loves forms, detail and process, this is a job for them!

If like me, you are in need of some guidance, here are some handy tips to get you going.

And it goes without saying, your Firewalkers do not drink ANY alcohol before the Firewalk.

Can I sell alcohol at my event?

First, check if the venue already has an alcohol license. They may.

If not, you will need to apply for a ‘Temporary Event Notice’ (TEN) from your local council.

This can usually be done online via their website. Apply no later than two weeks before your event (and don’t leave it till then as the form can be confusing).

The council may charge a small fee, something like £21 per event.

Local Council deadlines may differ, double check online and fill it in as early as possible to avoid any delays.

What is a Temporary Event Notice?

You will need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) if you are holding an event with a licensable activity. These activities include: –

  • The sale and supply of alcohol.
  • Live entertainment such films, plays, recorded music, indoor sporting events, live music and dance performances.
  • The sale of hot food and drink between 11pm and 5am.

Exemptions do apply for schools and charities, check online or contact a member of your local council to clarify. THESE RULES WILL DIFFER BETWEEN COUNCILS SO PLEASE CHECK AHEAD OF TIME.

How many people are coming to your Event?

Most firewalks attract a crowd but it’s rarely huge. As a very broad idea, the crowd is often around three times bigger than the amount of walkers. Thirty firewalkers could attract a crowd of one hundred. That number shrinks in the winter or if the weather is bad. It may increase if you advertise things like a BBQ, alcohol and other activities.

Depending on the size of your event and how many people you expect to attend, your local council may ask you to complete further forms, like a Notification Event Form, where your event will be reviewed to ensure you have the relevant Risk Assessments and Insurance in place. As an example, a PTA organisation for a school should also have its own insurance for events anyway. We can help with guidance too when it comes to Risk Assessments if you don’t have a team member who can do this.

You may also need to complete an Event Management Plan, which covers other event organiser responsibilities including health and safety, site management and emergency plans.

OK so all that sounds horrific. It’s not really. And it does ensure that the event remains safe for everyone attending.

EXAMPLE: Download an example application form from a council HERE.

Good luck!


Is a firewalk right for you?

Drop us an email and we can set up a call to see how we can help you and your cause.

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