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Organising a Street Party

Many positive benefits

Bla 1A number of roads in Bedford Park have been organising street parties over the years and residents agree that they made them feel more sociable and have created a strong feeling of community. Research projects show that interacting with the neighbours in this way has a really positive effect on our busy, modern and increasingly fragmented lives. Street parties cut down social isolation, give kids a safe car-free environment in which to play, and make it easier for people of different ages get to know one another. Just as important – it’s fun to get to know the neighbours!

It’s never been easier

It may seem a slightly daunting prospect to organise a get-together for an entire road. But the good news is that it has never been easier to organise a party or street event. In recent years, prompted by the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics, there has been a big move to promote these events by simplifying the organisation, cutting red tape and providing practical materials and advice. 

Organisations such as the Big Lunch and Streets Alive have promoted not just street parties but many innovative ways of increasing neighbourly activity at street level.  It could be an informal “Street Meet” held in a garden or, when there are lots of young children involved, Playstreets. These involve two to three hour stewarded road closure for children to play safely in the street on a monthly basis. Such schemes are up and running in Ealing and Hounslow and links to more information are shown below.   

Keeping it simple

For most street parties in residential roads you will find that:     

- No licences are required

- You do not need licences for music, alcohol (unless you plan to SELL alcohol) or a licence from the Food Standards Agency

- There are no complicated forms for road closure

- Nowadays forms have become simple, requiring only basic information, particularly if the road has no commercial businesses or is not part of a bus route.

- There are no expensive fees involved. In the past Ealing Council charged £300 but has now has scrapped its fees altogether. Hounslow only charges £26 for road closure.

- No expensive insurance is needed  

- Public Liability insurance is not required.

How to get started

It’s best to start planning at least 3 months in advance. Both Ealing and Hounslow councils ask for 10 weeks’ notice.

Check out the websites below

They provide plenty of advice not just on street parties but on other ways to encourage neighbourly contact.

Then, all you need to do is approach your neighbours to see what interest there is. If there is a positive response, link up with a few like-minded people to form an organising group and get planning!

For general advice

A surprisingly straightforward and non-bureaucratic guide to organising a street party. Encourages you to challenge red tape restrictions from your local authority. Includes a generic street party application form that can be sent to your local council.

Materials, posters, advice, not just for the Big Lunch Day held on the first Sunday of June each year, but for all kinds of interactive street activities.

The website for Streets Alive, which promotes all sorts of interaction at street level. Lots of tips and advice for a successful event.

For information on Play Street schemes:

Local Councils

The website for Ealing Council’s initiative “Bubble” aimed at helping residents connect with each other. Includes information on organising street parties, play streets and a simplified application form.

For guidance sheet on street parties and an application form.