Over the bank holiday my neighbour and I organised a street party. It’s easier than you’d think, tons of fun, and the benefits to the neighbourhood are immense. Does your postcode need a party?
Moving to London in 2007, I had prepared for an anonymous existence. Friends who leave the city tell me they are looking for “community”, as if this cannot exist in the big smoke. Since we organised our first street party last year, our street has become a neighbourhood. We even have a Whatsapp group which is frequently used for sourcing and sharing food, tools, recommendations, and working out “Who’s car alarm is that?!” I recently offloaded a glut of milk to a lady around the corner who subsequently rewarded me with some natural yoghurt that she had made with it. This was all kicked off by knocking on doors preparing for our street party.
Of course, there are many reasons why London might not be the right place to live, but it does show that community wants to exist wherever there are people, even if it requires some encouragement. Many of you will have a rich community life already, and I bet there are many street party veterans amongst our own PMP community.
You don’t need to book a load of entertainment, or buy in supplies. This year we knocked on doors and spoke about to our neighbours about what they could bring to the party. Turns out there’s a lot to offer when you just ask. We had two face-painters, a henna tattooist, and Irish folk singer, a juggler, rum punch, freshly baked cakes and tons of delicious international cuisine. The community was the entertainment, which made our street party unique.
Also, local businesses jumped at the chance to get involved. We had donations of bunting, balloons, pasta dishes, salads and a big stack of pizzas. I couldn’t believe the reaction.
Anyway, I hope this has convinced some of you to give it a go. A great place to start is on the GOV.UK Organise a Street Party page. We want to hear your street party stories in the comments section below.