Planning a Jubilee street party

Caroline Cassidy

Just as last year's royal wedding prompted street parties up and down the land, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee provides the perfect excuse to hold a celebration within your local community.

plan your jubilee street party
plan your jubilee street party

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Thousands of Brits will be hanging out the bunting and having a good ol' British knees-up. No doubt your plans are already well underway but if you're not sure where to begin, here are a few tips for street party success.

Getting started
A street party is all about community and the idea is that everyone in your road can join in, no matter what age. Though you may want to send out written invitations nearer the time, the best place to start is by visiting the locals to invite them to planning meetings.

This will enable everyone to put forward their ideas, get everyone involved and give you the chance to delegate jobs. These informal meetings also provide the perfect opportunity to assure the residents that your event is for every member of the family, from children to the elderly.

Obviously the perfect place to hold your party is the street but with most councils requesting that you apply for road closures a minimum of four weeks in advance (some stipulate 12 weeks notice), if you've not already done so, you've probably missed the boat.

There are other options, however. If you are residents of a cul-de-sac, for instance, everyone can get together for a 'street meet' without the need for permission to close the road. Even a large drive or nearby park could host your event so don't despair if you've missed your local council's deadline.

What do I need?
The basics you'll need for your street party are tables and chairs, food and drink, and decorations.

Trestle tables can be bought relatively cheaply but it's more than likely that between you, the whole event can be furnished for free. Make sure there are plenty of seats, particularly if you have elderly neighbours.

A great way to get everyone involved is for each resident to bring food. Whether it's buffet snacks, cold meats or cakes, as long as everyone brings something along, there will be plenty to go round and the cost is shared. You could even arrange a cake or biscuit-baking competition.

The same goes for alcohol and soft drinks. As long are you are not selling alcohol, there is no need for a licence so ask each resident to bring a bottle.

For everything else, including decorations, arrange for everyone to chip in to spread the expense or alternatively, hold a raffle and sell tickets on the day to cover the cost.

What to do?
As well as the food and drink, a little entertainment will help to get the party started.

Live music is one option and, with all the neighbours already at the party, there should be no complaints about noise! Nevertheless, it might be best to go down the acoustic route.

Traditional games such as tug of war and skittles will keep everyone happy but you may want to include some activities just for the kids. From hopscotch to hula hoops, face-painting to egg and spoon races, take inspiration from your childhood for some good old-fashioned fun.

Important details
As long as you are not charging an entry fee (if you have organised live music) or are selling alcohol, there is no need for a licence. However, if you have applied for a road closure, your local council may insist you have public liability insurance in place. It is often reasonably cheap (from as little as £45) but if you are not required to buy insurance, ensure that every party-goer takes responsibility for their own safety, particularly where the children are concerned.

Lastly, don't forget to clear up. As long as you make it a joint effort, it'll take no time.