In our quest to find the ingredients for a perfect Great Get Together we spoke to Jenny who has incredibly organised two street parties in her community. Jenny learned about Near Neighbours through volunteering at her church, St John’s Southall, where she helps to organise community activities. The toddler group Jenny ran was given a grant by Near Neighbours, and it was from there that she was inspired to organise the street parties. So, who better to teach us than someone who’s been there, done that and got the bunting! Jenny has kindly given us her advice for a great event.

 

There’s no ‘I’ in The Great Get Together

When it comes to organising a Street Party there’s no harm in asking for help! Teaming up with friends and neighbours is a great way to share the load. Here’s a few of Jenny’s tips for teamwork:

  • Jenny teamed up with a small group of neighbours to organise their street party. This allowed tasks to be shared, and made sure that their street party offered something for everyone.
  • The team went door-knocking in the run up to the event to ask people if they would like to get involved. Instead of being a chore, this was a great excuse to talk to people!
  • A local church generously lent chairs and tables for the event and volunteers helped to set up for the party.

 

The build up

If you’re thinking of hosting a Great Get Together it’s worth starting your planning a bit beforehand. Give yourself enough time to organise so on the day you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a wonderful event! These are a few things Jenny recommends you consider:

  • Jenny put in an application to her local council to close her street for the event, and this took a reasonable amount of forward planning. However, if you’re considering using a park, garden or even your front room then this won’t be a worry.
  • To gather more of a crowd for your Great Get Together make sure you advertise a few weeks before. Putting up posters or posting leaflets is a good way to get your community involved. If in doubt, a good old chat to your neighbours will get the word out!

Not just neighbours,     but friends

Bring a plate


The easiest way to provide food at your Great Get Together is to share the responsibility. Asking everyone to bring a plate makes sure that all your guests are catered for. Have a read of Jenny’s ideas:

  • Jenny and her team asked people to specifically bring vegetarian food and soft drinks. She recommends  Three Faiths Forum's’ website about catering multi faith events for helpful information.
  • Bear in mind that Ramadan is occurring during The Great Get Together dates (16th-18th June). Jenny suggested the need to offer non-food-focused activities too, and be mindful that Ramadan can be a busy time for Muslim families.

 

Putting the together in your Great Get Together

After all, the Great Get Together is about bringing your community together and enjoying yourself at the same time! Here’s what Jenny got up to at her street party:

  • They did a quiz to get people chatting to one another. Jenny recommends using questions about your local area.
  • Another fun activity they did was Human Bingo. Again, this is a great icebreaker and starts some interesting conversations!
  • In fact, The Great Get Together could be a good opportunity to get neighbours together to discuss other things 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.

 

A network of Near Neighbours

Jenny’s aim was to encourage her neighbours to get to know one another and create a shared sense of who lived in her neighbourhood. In creating a friendly network of neighbours, she hoped to make her community feel more settled and secure. By organising these fun and inclusive street parties, Jenny offered a point of connection for those who had lived in her neighbourhood the longest and for newer additions to the community.

New residents can now join an established network of not just neighbours, but friends. And that makes for a very warm welcome.

To start planning how your Great Get Together will benefit your community, you can register here.