Organising Street Parties:

Local residents and residents' groups organise dozens of local street parties each summer throughout Haringey involving thousands of people.

They come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes local residents organise small easy-to-organise gatherings of a few neighbours bringing out tables and chairs in a small corner of a street, and sometimes tightly-planned huge parties with a wide range of activities attracting hundreds of local participants. One street in Muswell Hill even hold an annual 'Street Olympics' with a wide range of fun competitions and prizes - check out for the proof! You can also read the report below from a Tottenham residents association who explain how they do it.

Smaller and more informal street parties can be quite easy and much less work than major ones, especially if you have a dead end street.

But the common theme is to promote and build up community spirit and co-operation. This of course has the effect of encouraging people to support eachother throughout the year, to collectively take responsibility for their neighbourhoods or estates, and to seek improvements to their environment and local services.

An excellent source of information about how to organise street parties can be found at

STREET PARTIES IN HARINGEY - the why, who, what, when and how…

There was an informal public meeting of Haringey residents on Tuesday 28 April 2009 at the Salisbury Pub, Green Lanes. The purpose was to share information and advice on the organisation of street parties in Haringey, a cause which the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations have been promoting in recent years. Our discussions were kicked off by Chris Gittins of Streets Alive in Bristol where it is usual for 85 street parties to take place a year, one street having no less than 5, seemingly at every public holiday.

Present: Dave Morris (HFRA, and Chestnuts Northside RA), Chris Gittins (Streets Alive, Bristol), Peter Thompson (HFRA, and Hillfield-St James RA), Tania Buwhare (Langham Rd, West Green), Andrew Mackie (Haringey Solidarity Group), Karoliina Eder (Westbeech Rd N22), Adam Coffman (Fairfax Rd RA, off Green Lanes), Jason Lejonvarn (Cromwell Avenue N6), Robert Young, Alison Mitten (3 Avenues RA), Louise Shepherd (Cornwall Ave N22), Wendy Keenan, (HFRA, and Fountain Area RA, N22), Helen Steel (Abbotsford Rd, Woodlands Pk RA N15).

Some of those present had no experience of organising a street party and were looking for advice. Of the rest some had experience of organising street parties (with or without road closures) and others had arranged street parties in nearby green areas, suitable for picnics.

The following contributions were made to the discussion:

Chris Gittins said that there is no need to apply for a Temporary Event Licence to hold a private party in the street unless the event is open to the public or involves “regulated entertainment”. In Haringey a licence costs £21. Road closure has to be applied for and costs £60 in Haringey. They make it a requirement that public liability insurance is taken out but this may be negotiable. [Chris is willing to argue the point and has information about insurance for £80, as a fallback on]. His advice was to convene meetings in the street (not in people’s houses) to stimulate discussion about holding a street party. He recommended creating a car free zone for the party (at least 5 car lengths on either side of the road) but not trying to encompass the whole of a long street. He thought September was usually good for most people, although Muslims would have difficulties if it fell within Ramadan (Adam said early July was OK and Peter said his street prefers June, as near as possible to Midsummer’s Day). There was a general consensus in favour of Sunday afternoon as the best time for such an event.

Peter Thompson said that for the past 3 years his road held a Street Party and Olympics, with all kinds of silly competitive events including hulahoopathon, 3-legged races, the uphill cycle race and dog agility trials. He produced the Olympics certificates (for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each event) and the £5 share certificates which the organisers sell house to house to raise the £500 needed to cover the costs. He said that they spend the afternoon on “olympics” (which are very popular with youngsters and spectators alike) followed by an Olympic banquet out in the street and then a Concert to include local musicians and performers. He mentioned having run a Front Gardens Competition successfully one year and also holding a Street Cricket Match and a Grown at Home competition for domestic produce. He obtained insurance from S-Tech Insurance Services Ltd 154-156 Victoria Rd Cambridge CB4 3DZ for a premium to £75 (VAT included).

Adam Coffman said that his residents found the best place for a party was Fairland Park, adjoining his road, and that a film show had been very successful. Attendances had risen to 350 and would probably rise further because this year they had obtained substantial funding for a big event. He mentioned that he can obtain PA systems for £75.

Louise Shepherd said that their street party had been a group picnic: she had put invitations through the doors and about 70 people came for a very enjoyable picnic, each bringing and sharing food and drink.

Dave Morris said that his road ends in a cul-de-sac so a Road Closure is not required and the Council is not involved: elaborate preparations are not required. The street party tends to be an impromptu affair with tables and chairs out in the road, eating and drinking and kids’ games.

Other ideas Road Closed signs and kit for outdoor games can be borrowed for a nominal sum from the Gardens RA. It was common experience that teenagers tend to stay away unless given a chance to perform, although young girls can often be relied on to help with children’s games. One way of engaging the cool generation might be to invite them to make a video recording of highlights of the day for uploading on the residents’ website.

The meeting closed with thanks all round at 8.45. PT

How we organised the Street Party in Grove Park Rd, N15
Sue - 2005

A traffic free Street party was held on a Sunday in August 2004 in Grove Park Road and again in 2005, (this time in both Grove Park and Beaconsfield Roads.)
1. We visited everyone in the street in May 04 to find out whether they were interested and to get their ideas. There was a lot of interest and one resident obtained ‘Street Party! - a Guide for Organisers’ from the internet, (produced by ‘ Streets Alive’ in Bristol) and set up a Yahoo group for residents of Grove Park Rd.
2. Then we held our first meeting in June of people interested. We drew up a budget based on cost of hiring equipment from Hackney Festival Support Group, market stalls, bouncy castle, decorations, events insurance, road closure order £60 (early morning to midnight), hire of road closure signs, musicians’ expenses, amplifier and speakers, facepainter, storyteller, prizes, copying, printing etc. We did not need an entertainment licence as the event was ‘by invitation only’ (for residents, friends and families) and not publicly advertised.

(The second year we hired music equipment from John Henry’s in Brewery Road and borrowed tables from local churches and mosque)

3. We applied for grants to the West Green Learning Neighbourhood Community Chest and Earthwatch (both funds now ended) We also received sponsorship from local shops, from College of North East London, from the African Caribbean Leadership Council and Kumon Maths and English Edmonton and Hornsey.

4. We then visited all residents again, asking what musical, artistic, sporting, cooking or other talent they could offer to entertain or help make the party a success. We left a letter with tear off reply for those who were out. It also asked residents to let us know if they had any worries so we could take them on board.

5. During the regular meetings in several different houses which followed we drew up a list of activities, games, stalls which different people undertook to run.

6. Two charities suggested by residents were selected for support. All activities were free with donations to the chosen charities.

7. Bunting was strung from house to house across the road and a large banner painted by children in the week before the event which made for a festive atmosphere and got more people involved.

8. A series of colourful newsletters was produced and circulated to every house before the event giving the meeting dates, proposed activities timetable and map - and reminding people they would have to move their car out of the road on that day. People were also asked to leave a 3 metre gap down the centre of the road for emergency vehicles.

9. In the week before the party every house was visited again by pairs of volunteers who ran through a checklist of information, gave out balloons and signs about the party to put up in windows. Signs were put on all car windscreens asking them to move their car for the party.

10. Food was made by residents at their own expense. Parents were responsible for what their children ate but could put a sign on them if required eg ‘no nuts, no pork’

11. Two rotas of stewards was produced one to patrol the street in pairs in yellow jackets to prevent unauthorised traffic and sort any problems, the other to supervise the bouncy castles. First Aiders were also available.

12. The party started at 12 noon and continued to 6pm the first year and 8pm the second year. This allowed for setting up and clearing away.

13. Many different activities took place on the day including:

· bike time up to 11.30 am only
· judging of competition for the best decorated house
· cake stall, plant stall, books and CDs, distribution of low energy lightbulbs, bric a brac stall, bring and buy stall, tombola, name the teddy bear, craft stall.
· Philippino childrens games
· Origami and childrens’ number games
· Fire Prevention stall.
· Community wardens property marking stall,
· Traffic calming consultation,
· Local history stall,
· Stage at the bend in the road with programme of music, singers, announcements, salsa dancing,
· Surestart tent with messy play for under fives
· African drumming workshop
· Basketball
· Face Painting
· 2 Bouncy Castles for different ages
· Childrens ball pool
· Ice Cream van
· Fire engine demonstration
· CONEL orbit bus of computers
· Talent contest


The party proved more successful than we had dreamt. To our surprise nearly everyone moved their car without a murmur. More than 20 people cooked and served food from all parts of the world to neighbours. Residents brought out their own chairs, barbecues, gazebos on to the street and chatted to neighbours. Volunteers put up and dismantled equipment and cleared away rubbish Between £500 and £800 was raised for charity. Several further parties followed the street party the post party party, bonfire night party, pre-Christmas party and more people came forward to help the second year.

It is a good idea to know what money is available in good time. The second year we had MC/ DJ music with loud amplification. This proved popular with the younger age group but too loud for most older residents.