Planning your reopening or return after lockdown? Here’s how we can help

Published on 10 August 2020. Last updated on 4 September 2020.

Since the school holidays began, we’ve seen a surge in families looking for physical events and days out via the Fantastic for Families website. Whether you’re already offering activities for families or you’re looking for guidance to reopen your spaces, here’s how the Family Arts Campaign can support you to decide how and when to engage with your family audience.

Promote your return

Families completing textiles activities

We’re reopening, how can you help?

If you are a venue about to reopen your doors, we can help you get the word out. Please tag us (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) in your social media announcements so that we can share this information with our network of families. You can also join the #FantasticForFamilies hashtag.

You can also update your Organisation Profile on the Fantastic for Families listings website so that families browsing the site know that you are open for business. You’ll need to be registered for the Family Arts Standards to receive an organisation profile on the site.

We’ve added a new field to Organisation Profiles for you to link directly to your Covid-19 statement but you can add information directly into your profile page to explain what social distancing and safety features you have in place.

Our family activities are starting again, can you promote them?

We’re seeing an increase in families looking for event listings now and into the autumn and we are actively promoting events that are going ahead. You can add your physical event listings to Fantastic for Families by registering or logging in here.

You will be able to add a direct link to your Covid-19 statement or safety procedures for each event, to reassure families that they will be able to engage in the activity safely.

We’re still operating remotely, can we benefit from Fantastic For Families?

Record-breaking numbers of children tuned to the BBC’s online content during lockdown and Indigo’s recent research shows that there is still a huge demand from all ages for culture online.

Our activities and online events listings will remain active and in use where you can add any resources or recordings for families. There is also an opportunity to feature in our weekly blog and social media campaign of things to do at home. Just upload your listings and we’ll do the rest.

Lockdown has created a stark digital divide in the UK. See our recent case studies for inspiration – we’ve seen some great examples of creative activities to do at home including these Play Packs from Culture Mile, story-based activity boxes from Traveling light, or Arts Award’s new Discover at Home award. We’d love to hear what you’ve been doing – let us know!

What are other organisations doing?

The latest audience research from Indigo shows that audiences are currently interested in outdoor culture. We’re seeing outdoor walks, talks and performances being uploaded to the Fantastic for Families website, as well as family workshops with streamlined capacities and new safety measures in place. Have a look at what the rest of our network are doing and add your own listings here.

What are audiences looking for?

We can see that audiences are beginning to book ahead for a wide range of events. With socially-distanced indoor performances in England currently due to resume from 15th August, half of those who are booking now are booking for events from November onwards.

We know that the Christmas period is an important time for boosting ticket sales and we’ll be promoting these events to families via our press team. Make sure to upload your listings early to receive the maximum benefit.

When it comes to safety at future performances and events, having effective social distancing measures in place is considered a priority for audiences. 76% of those surveyed by Indigo said that limits on the number who can attend would help make them feel safe.

Helping families feel safe will be crucial to their attendance on a venue reopening – see below for our round up of guidance available for working with families and young people, and how the Family Arts Campaign can support you.

I have a show but no bookings / I’m looking for family work for my venue

If you have a family show or activity available for booking then is a great resource – just visit their Children & Families section to add your tour or find touring shows. If you’re signed up to the Family Arts Standards you can also badge your show/activity as such so that you stand out to venues seeking like-minded family-friendly companies.

How can the Family Arts Campaign help?

We are here to support your return with promotion of both your physical and virtual events. For recent case studies and webinar recordings please visit our website.

We are planning further online training sessions with advice and support on how to re-open safely and resume activities and performances for families.

We have already sent you a short survey asking you what areas you would like us to focus on in our training. Please complete it here if you haven’t already.

What’s worked well for you? Join the discussion on the hashtag #FamilyArts or send us your feedback:


Guidance, advice and support for reopening

Pink highlighter pen, ticking off items on a checklist

Government guidance for performing arts

The government’s guidelines for the performing arts to return safely can be found here. References to families and young people within the guidelines are:

  • Managing of social distancing for families: family groups who may wish to remain closer than the required social distance but who, in doing so, may encourage others to cluster in a similar manner.
  • The importance of reminding guests who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  • The guidelines include a brief outline of recommendations for outdoor performances which can apply to family groups.

Government guidance for specific areas such as galleries and museums, libraries, dance studies and music venues have been compiled on the Arts Council England website.

We are in conversation with Arts Council England to further clarify and interpret existing guidance for families and are planning training and resources to support you to deliver best-practice solutions.

Opening Learning Spaces

New guidance from from Space for Learning on how performing arts sites and museums can be Covid secure when they reopen. Includes an actionable checklist. The guidance was developed by members of the Space for Learning: Covid Secure working group and individuals from cultural learning teams.

EMBED: reopening recommendations

EMBED’s Post-Lockdown opening guidance and recommendations for cultural venues considers potential barriers faced by those with a range of access needs, including young people and older visitors.

It has some useful starting points if you’re looking to welcome different age-groups back into a cultural space. This includes recommendations and sources of further information if you’re considering children’s responses to wearing masks, children and social-distancing barriers and signage, or whether or not to use audio guides for vulnerable groups.

How to use the Kids in Museums Manifesto to plan for reopening

This museums-specific guide brings together guidance and examples from across the world to support reopening and show how venues can meet the Kids in Museums Manifesto with social distancing measures in place

Outdoor Events: keeping workers and audiences safe during COVID-19

Outdoor events are already popular with families and this resource from the Events Industry Forum could be helpful particularly where such performances are not typical to your operations. It covers various aspects of safety when considering location, social distancing and facilities.

Activities for young people and children

If you’re specifically working with young people, the National Youth Agency has guidance on managing youth activities and the government has also released a document on protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children.

Engage: reopening advice and opinion

Engage have collated a list of resources specific to reopening galleries and museums, which includes examples of what others are doing internationally and example reopening plans. Scroll down to the reopening advice and opinion section.

The WeWillRecover Initiative: Helping organisations get back on track

We Will Recover aims to help live entertainment organisations affected in the COVID-19 crisis adapt and recover by creating, collecting and sharing knowledge and inspiration. To join the community and receive the latest updates: visit and register to receive newsletters. You can also follow WeWillRecover on Twitter and LinkedIn.

#ArtsMap – Public Campaign for the Arts

The arts map is helping audiences to check the status of arts venues and companies near them. People can find out what’s happening, what’s open, and how they can support culture in their local area. Make sure you’re registered and appearing on the map.

Header image cr. Whitechapel Gallery

To stay up to date with news and guidance please register for the Family Arts Campaign newsletter below.

10 August 2020