Hosting for your community If you’re thinking about hosting an event that involves people from diverse backgrounds, you might want a few tips on how to make your event fun and welcoming for everyone involved. We’ve compiled a handy guide to hosting a Great Get Together event for people of all faiths and none. Remember, these are only a few suggestions - the best thing you can do is chat to the people you’ve invited and find out what they would like to do! Planning a Great Get Together Here are a few practical things which you might like to think about in the run up to your event... Chat to your neighbours, colleagues or friends first and see if they’re keen on the idea Have a think about venue – you can hold a traditional street party, but you might like to think about holding an event in a local park, place of worship, community centre or a neighbour’s garden. Apply to your council to hold a street party and ask about road closure procedures. Remember to print, borrow or ask your council for road signs! Make a point of going to meet representatives from different groups you might want to invite along - this helps everyone feel welcome, included and important. Try and plan as early as possible and share the workload - the more prepared you are, the better. the more prepared you are, the better. The 16th-18th June falls during Ramadan, so consider whether you might be able to hold your event after sunset – perhaps in someone’s garden or house. If you were hoping to invite members of the Jewish community to your event, consider holding your event on Sunday 18th rather than Saturday 17th- as this is the Sabbath. Likewise, if you’re inviting Christian friends or neighbours, ask them what times they might be busy with church on Sunday 18th – a Sunday lunch or afternoon event may be better. Put posters up in your local area and invite people! You can find downloadable invites and posters online, or physical copies in your pack. If your event is free to attend, make sure this is clearly displayed in your publicity as it will help encourage people to attend. Ask people to share any moveable furniture or items they might have - beanbags, stools, chairs, tables, cutlery and crockery etc. The more spaces people have where they can gather and get to know each other, the better. This is just a starting point - there are plenty of great websites you can look to for further advice. Try this guide to organising a street party or search ‘organise a street party’ online. The Resource Centre also has an excellent website detailing everything you could possible need to plan an event. Activity Ideas A key part of a good party is, of course, the food - but there’s plenty of other stuff you can do! People from different faith and ethnic backgrounds will each have different games and activities that they could share, so encourage people to let you know what sort of activities they’d like to do. Break the ice and get to know your neighbours with an easy game - play ‘guess my house number’ if you’re holding a street party, or try Human Bingo for another lovely way to find out more about people in your community. Keep children entertained by encouraging people to bring their garden toys like swingball, giant jenga, or boules - or just a good old fashioned football to kick around! For younger children, set up a small soft play area with rugs or mats. If your event is taking place after dark, you might like to consider an alternative to a street party – how about a Safari Supper, visiting different people’s houses along your street, or organise a moonlight meal for all your attendees. This is a great way of including those observing Ramadan. Crafts are a great way of bringing people together, and gives people an active way of meeting and getting to know each other who they might not otherwise meet. Ask partygoers to bring activities which they might do with their faith or cultural communities during times of celebration - for example, henna tattoos, face painting, or a musical performance. discuss what you want to see or change in your communityThe Great Get Together could be a good opportunity to get your neighbour's together to discuss what they would like to achieve as a community. Give yourselves some goals so that the sentiment of your party can continue long into the future. Getting ready for your Great Get Together Get your party looking picture perfect with some decoration! You can buy or borrow bunting, put up posters, hang colourful streamers or banners, or whip up some crafty table decorations. Making these decorations might also be great way to bond with your community in the run up to your Great Get Together event. If your event is happening in the evening, consider stringing up fairy lights or decorating the area with delicate tea lights. You might like to think about the music playing at your party, too. Why not encourage every household to come with a CD or short playlist - that way everyone’s musical taste can be appreciated! If this won’t work, please be considerate when choosing what your partygoers might like to listen to. What to eat on the big day? Having enough food to share and go round is one of the most important elements of a successful party. However, it’s worth spending some time considering what your neighbours, friends or colleagues would like to eat, particularly if you’re catering to a multifaith event. See if your partygoers would be happy to bring a plate each to share with everyone else. This is probably the easiest way to make sure there will be enough to eat, and everyone can find something they like! Make sure you’ve got a good mix of vegetarian, vegan and meat dishes on offer. Similarly, be aware of people’s allergies – try and have some gluten and lactose free products and that they’re clearly labelled. When preparing different types of food (vegetarian, vegan etc) keep the cutlery and crockery used in preparation completely separate Some of your guests might eat halal or kosher meat – make sure you have these available and correctly prepared. If you have any Jewish guests who keep kosher, it might be easiest to purchase specially prepared and sealed kosher meals in advance. This may help avoid complications when it comes to preparation. Try and keep specifically prepared food separate. If there is food present which some guests might be unable to eat, it’s best to store, prepare and serve them separately. If you’re planning on having alcohol available at your party, be sensitive to those who might not want to drink - many people of faith do not drink for religious reasons. Find out whether members of particular faiths are marking religious festivals or fasting, as eating habits can change during these times – for example, the 16th-18th June is during Ramadan. If you’re not sure about anything, just ask! On the whole, people are more than happy to answer questions about these kinds of things and it’s much better to find out if there are problems before the event and not at the event. It’s also worth having a look at the Three Faiths Forum's’ website about catering for multi faith events and the Inter-Faith Network’s Catering and Faith Based Diet Guidance booklet for more in depth advice about catering for interfaith events. For more general advice on engaging people of different faiths and backgrounds within the local community, the Near Neighbours website is an excellent place to start. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ring 02078981091 or email [email protected].