Top Tips for Holding a Crohn’s and Colitis Service Open Day

Two people talking and looking at a booklet.

A service open day is a free event that gives people using a service, including parents, carers and newly diagnosed patients, the chance to meet their healthcare team. This could give patients an opportunity to talk about their experience and suggest ways the service could be better and could also be used to help you find individuals who are interested in get more involved in service development. Read our tops tips for running an open day below.

Two people talking and looking at a booklet.

Preparation and Planning

  • Have aims and objectives so everyone is clear why you’re organising a service open day. What is the most important reason? Open days can be great for raising awareness, educating, promoting something or consulting with people. Ensure the aims are reflected in the programme and publicity.
  • Choose which engagement activities will help you meet your aims and objectives.
  • Think about accessibility and how to make your event as accessible and inclusive as possible. See our Accessibility and Inclusivity Guide.
  • Do not assume that the event needs to be held in a hospital. Other venues may be more suitable and accessible by public transport. You could even consider a virtual event.
  • Involve your local IBD Patient Panel. If there is a local Panel, get in touch with them as early as possible, arrange for them to attend to talk to people about getting involved in Patient Panels.
  • For your information stand, order plenty of information from Crohn’s & Colitis UK, including for people who are newly diagnosed. To bulk order materials please fill in your details to be issued with an account. Once you have login details, you can order physical booklets.
  • Invite influencers/key stakeholders such as your Trust/ Board’s Chief Executive/Director of Nursing and Quality and local politicians.


  • Can your Trust or Board’ s communications department help with posters, flyers, newsletter articles and official social media channels?
  • Use ‘What’s On columns’ in local newspapers and contact local radio stations. Ask if they can write a short piece on the conditions and your service open day.  Signpost them to our website to help them write this. Invite a journalist along.
  • Advertise to community groups or places where your audience might be likely to go such as GP surgeries, pharmacies.
  • Give personal invites and letters to patients at outpatient clinics including newly diagnosed patients. We have created a sample letter. 
  • Don’t forget to include staff in invitations, including teams where referrals are made for IBD patients such as mental health, rheumatology, dermatology, obstetrics and gynaecology.
  • Ask your Crohn’s & Colitis UK local network to advertise the day in their newsletter and on social media.

On the day

  • Assign people jobs for the day (meet and greet, looking after special guests, collecting feedback etc).
  • Have a back-up plan with the agenda/programme and presentations ready in both PowerPoint and hard copy.
  • ​Encourage feedback and give people the option to give feedback by phone or email to make it even better next time.

Become a Campaigner

None of our award-winning campaigns would be possible without our amazing community of dedicated campaigners. Your powerful voice really does matter. 


This page has been saved in your personal space. Go to “My Page” to view all saved pages.

Helpline service


We know it can be difficult to live with, or support someone living with these conditions. But you’re not alone. We provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and can support you to live well with Crohn’s or Colitis.

Our helpline team can help by:

  • Providing information about Crohn’s and Colitis.

  • Listening and talking through your situation.

  • Helping you to find support from others in the Crohn’s and Colitis community.

  • Signposting you to specialist organisations.

Please be aware we’re not medically or legally trained. We cannot provide detailed financial or benefits advice or specialist emotional support.

Please contact us via telephone, email or LiveChat - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (except English bank holidays).

Live chat

If you need specific medical advice about your condition, your GP or IBD team will be best placed to help.

Would you like to save the changes made to this page?