There are a number of different examples of great community initatives running across the country and locally. These give you a taster of the types of intiatives you can "piggy back" off of, or consider setting up within your research group through collaboration with relevant communities.
Fun Palaces is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy, with an annual weekend of action every October.
The campaign promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture.
The weekend of action uses the combination of arts, craft, science, tech, digital, heritage and sports activities, led by local people for local people, sharing their own passions and skills, as a catalyst for community-led transformation, with active participation for all ages.
Science and Discovery Centres and Science Museums are embedded in the heart of their communities in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They all have long-term relationships with communities, schools and families as well as local institutions such as universities, industry, local government, MPs and the media. They run a number of national initiatives, and are always looking for researchers to go in and share their knowledge and expertise. Local Science and Discovery Centres include Birmingham ThinkTank, National Space Centre, Richard III Visitor Centre, and the Cheltenham Science Group.
Usually a lorry or van, a mobile lab is a fantastic way to reach communities where they live, work or pay as you can literally pick up your lab and take it on tour! You can set a schedule, get schools and groups booked in, or arrive in town centres and squares, you can literally go anywhere with it! Through good promotion and organisation it can be staffed by any research group member(s) and potentially used by others in your department to share costs and workloads. It's a fantastic resource that captures lots of imagination and curiosity. Kingston University and Lab in a Lorry are great examples of specific research and general science opportunities.
This does exactly what it says on the tin - find an empty shop in a busy and easily accessible location, fit it out with funky design work, demos, gizmos, books, or anything else you'd like people to interact with and open your doors! A shop is another great way of getting people to engage with research without the struggle of navigating a complex campus with no parking! Running a series of workshops, talks, family days, holiday activities and more will appeal to all ages and backgrounds, and people will see you more as a destination rather than an institution. A great example of this is the Heart and Lung Repair Shop run by Imperial College.