From arranging fun activities to insuring your event, organising a street party involves a lot of planning! Read our top tips for organising a street party here.
What better way to celebrate an event such as Bonfire Night, Thank You Day or royal occasions than with your family, friends and neighbours? Street parties are a great way to bring the community together to have some fun and for us to unite as a nation. Whether you’re planning a tea party or family-fun activities for all to join, there’s a lot of planning that goes into organising these events.
For over 100 years now, street parties have taken place across the UK. Living in this digital world, it’s more important than ever for us to get together to build a real community spirit. In this guide, we’ll highlight our top tips for throwing a street party and what you need to prepare for so you can have a wonderful and safe time with those living in your area.
What is a street party?
A street party is a type of event which is organised for residents living on a particular street or a number of streets (usually taking place in the summertime). Typically, there are road closures so that residents can congregate on the street in celebration of an event, such as VE day or the Queen’s Jubilee. Often, the street will be decorated and activities will take place, bringing everyone together.
Top tips for organising a street party
Below we’ll share considerations for you to make when organising your street party so that you can ensure it’s fun and safe for all!
1. Complete a street party application form
You’ll need to let your council know about your plans, especially if you need to close a road as it ensures that the council can plan traffic diversions (this is particularly important for emergency services to know in advance). Anyone is able to request a road closure, but the costs and notice period you’ll need to give your council can vary. The last thing you want is to put the time and effort into planning a spectacular street party only to find out that you won’t be able to go ahead with it. Head to the GOV.UK website to apply for your street party and submit your application form as soon as possible for your council’s approval.
2. Check whether you need any licences and what your council’s requirements are
You can check with your local council whether you need any event licensences for your street party. Typically, an event which involves serving food, selling alcohol or providing entertainment will need a temporary licence.
3. Complete a risk assessment
You should look to complete a risk assessment so that you can organise a safe and enjoyable event. If you’re planning a small, private street party just for you and your neighbours, a formal risk assessment is not necessary. That said, it’s certainly worth completing so that you’re prepared if anything goes wrong. A risk assessment involves considering all the activities and plans you have for the event and writing down what hazards there are. You can then consider the safety measures you can put in place to prevent these accidents from happening. If you find an activity to be too risky, you should question whether it is necessary to minimise the associated risks!
4. Set the date
If you’re planning a street party for a particular event you’ll want to ensure that your party takes place on the right date! Typically, street parties will take place on weekends or public holidays as these are times where most people will be free to attend such events.
5. Get others on board!
Street parties can take a lot of commitment and effort, but it can be a team effort! You could arrange street party meetings with your neighbours to see how others can help and you should also consider whether you’ll be needing any volunteers to run games and activities.
6. Promote your party
Let all of your friends, family and neighbours know that you’re organising a street party in advance so they can look forward to the event! You could create posters to distribute amongst the residents living in your area and take to social media to spread the word! For example, you could set up a Facebook event page for neighbours to join so that they can find out more information (such as timings or whether they need to bring anything along) and receive notifications of the upcoming event.
Don’t forget that fly-posting is illegal, so you should avoid hanging posters up on lamp posts or fences unless you have permission from property owners. That said, you could instead ask residents to put your street party posters in their windows or create signs for their front gardens. This in itself can start to bring your community together and you can encourage children to get creative too!
In terms of when you need to promote your party, you should aim to invite your neighbours along at least one month in advance.
7. Arrange food, drinks and activities
You can start to consider what your street party will actually offer. In terms of food and drink, you’ll want to cater for everyone so keep allergies in mind and ensure that there are non-alcoholic drinks available also. In the summertime, BBQs and tea parties are popular catering options so this could be something you consider. You may also encourage neighbours to contribute their own food and drink as well - you can never have too many scones!
Remember, if you want to sell alcohol at your event, you’ll need a licence.
You’ll then need to think about tables and chairs, as aside from creating a space for residents to sit and chat, it will enable older residents or people with mobility issues to sit comfortably.
Now, it’s time to plan your activities. You should plan something that suits everyone as it’s likely you’ll have people of all ages in attendance.You could invite neighbours to volunteer their own talents to help out (for example, you could ask for people to sing or do face paints for children). Below we’ve listed some popular street party activities:
Live performances (such as singing or dancing)
Fancy dress parades
Bake-offs (this adds a fun competitive element to the day!)
Games such as treasure hunts, quizzes or sack races
Whatever you decide, keep it fun and family-friendly. That means if you’re playing music, ensure the songs are appropriate and don’t play it too loud or too late at night. Encouraging your neighbours to get involved can really boost the community spirit!
8. Decorate your street
Now it’s time to spruce your street up! Bunting is a popular type of decoration and can instantly bring colour to your road! If celebrating a royal event, you could hang Union Jack bunting on lamp posts, fences, outside windows…wherever you hang them really (providing you’ve asked permission from property owners of course). Balloons are also an easy way to add pops of colour to your street and kids will love them! Lastly, why not invite the children of your neighbourhood to create their own decorations so they feel just as involved?
9. Consider taking out insurance
Whilst you may not be obliged to have street party insurance, it’s strongly recommended that you’re financially covered should something go wrong at your event and someone makes a claim against you. From trips and slips to scalding on BBQs, anything could happen and you want to make sure that you're prepared.
Public liability insurance is the most common type of insurance taken out for these events and this will cover you if a member of the public gets injured or if there’s damage to third-party property. You can also get additional cover for further financial protection, including:
Event equipment - covering you for accidental damage, loss or theft of equipment you’re hiring, leasing or owning for the party.
Employers liability - covering you if you’re employing anyone to work the event (including paid and unpaid work) and they get injured as a result of your negligence in organising and running the event.
Cancellation, abandonment of postponement - covering you if your street party event cannot go ahead due to reasons outside your control. In summertime, you should be luckier with the weather, however, a little rain isn’t out of the ordinary in England, so, rather than risking ruining your activities and cakes, why not consider hiring shelter such as gazebos or marquees so that everyone can continue to gather outside without getting wet?
10. Prepare for the big clean-up!
Don’t forget to plan for clearing up after the event to ensure that your street looks just the way you found it. You can encourage attendees to clear up after themselves and should provide bin bags and recycle points so it’s easy for everyone to dispose of their waste. At the end of the day, this is your local area so despite it being your responsibility as an organsier to clean up afterwards, you should want to keep things spick and span!
When are street parties for the Queen's Jubilee?
Street parties for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will mainly take place on June 5th 2022. That said, street parties could take place from Thursday 2nd of June to Sunday 5th of June. If you’re organising an event for this royal occasion, we offer Platinum Jubilee street party insurance which will cover you from liability against claims.
We hope that this guidance has given you the confidence to go away and get planning. As with any event, you should try to organise everything as soon as possible so that you’ve got time to perfect your party! Organising an event for your community can be extremely exciting, but don’t overlook safety measures to minimise any risks.
Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering of close neighbours or a summer street party which welcomes people in their hundreds, we wish you luck!