Arts and cultural events – on your doorstep!
Street events build relationships between neighbours and local residents, bringing together people from a range of backgrounds, beliefs and ages and helping to foster a positive attitude towards their local area. There are lots of activities and events that a community could organise for their street, such as live music, best garden competition, chalk drawing, street games, sports and of course – parties!
You may wish to hold a community street event that is open to all residents or a ‘closed’ event, which is just for people on a particular street. With this type of event it is particularly important that all residents agree, especially if it will require a road closure or will involve noise.
Street parties are a traditional part of British culture and provide a great way for communities to celebrate and come together. In 2012 there are more reasons than usual for street parties as people celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, Big Lunch, the Olympics and Paralympics. Food is often central to the street party and is a perfect opportunity to share recipes with neighbours or even cooking lessons where everyone can enjoy a diverse range of food. Of course live or recorded music and entertainment can form a part of your street party, perhaps someone in your street can play a musical instrument or can get people involved in a sing-along?
At your street party, holding fun events are a great way to include games for all ages to join in which improve health, fitness and local involvement. You could devise your own games from sack to egg and spoon races or compete against other streets with games like tug-of-war etc. This could form a part of the Olympic Community Games, an opportunity to explore cultural heritage and diversity and a way for members of your street or community to share their skills and experience with each other..
If you are unable or do not have time to arrange a road closure you may like to consider an informal ‘StreetMeet’ with your neighbours on a driveway, parking area or front garden that does not need getting permission from your local council as it is on private land. You can simply pick where you would like this to happen and then have a get-together
Organising a small, private street party or event is usually very simple and generally does not involve activities that will require a licence, such as selling alcohol or providing certain types of entertainment. If your music is incidental to other activities and is not advertised in advance, and drinks and food are being shared between neighbours without charge you will not need to apply for a licence. However, if you want to sell food after 11pm, have a pay bar or sell alcohol, provide entertainment to the wider public or charge an entry fee; you will need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice that costs £21. This covers events of less than 500 people and needs to be done at least 10 working days before your event. The common sense precautions you take in your own daily life should provide a sufficient risk assessment.
Some authorites hold premises licences for their main open spaces and they may offer the use of this license in return for a pro-rata figure of their annual fee for the licence. This would generally apply for larger events with significant infrastructure, alcohol sales or when music is the main activity. If you think you need a license or are in doubt, contact your local licensing officer or visit our ‘Do you need a license’ in the Legal section of this website.
Street events and parties often happen in quiet residential streets and are for the enjoyment of residents, family and friends. Cul-de-sacs are ideal locations but even where a street provides for through traffic, a street event may still be possible as long as a convenient alternative route is available. Generally, busier through routes are not usually suitable for street events so you may wish to look at other ways of being able to gather, for example in a park (see our Open Spaces section). If you need to close your street, you will need to apply for this via Cambridgeshire County Council or Peterborough City Council Highways Departments. Further details are available on the authorities websites. There will be no charge for street party road closure traffic orders from Cambridgeshire County Council for 2012 celebrations.
Wherever your event takes place, the event organiser/residents will be responsible for clearing all waste and equipment from the street at the end of the event. However, some authorities can provide this service at an extra agreed cost.
Many small street events that are only for residents do not require Public Liability Insurance. However, some councils require it and residents may choose to take out a policy for low level cover for the ‘organisers’ liability. Using a common sense approach may be sufficient, for example checking areas for obstacles and holes and removing any debris or trip hazards. If there are any areas of potential danger, these should be marked very clearly. You can contact your local council for more information or for further guidance. Larger, more public events will certainly require that the organiser takes out a public liability insurance policy, normally for a minimum of £5M particularly if it involves bouncy castles or other inflatables, fairground rides or stalls.
This guide gives a broad outline of the considerations to be made when planning an event, it is important to remember that there can be variations in application processes and hire charges depending on which local authority you apply to. However, each authority will have event officers who will be able to advise on these, see our Communications page for these details.
If you intend to hold a street party, the Food Standards Agency has produced some common-sense guidance to help things run smoothly and safely here.
www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/streetpartyguide You can also use DirectGov to access local information and contact details for more advice
www.communitygames.org.uk for ideas on community games and linking in with Olympic inspired activity
www.streetparty.org.uk provides useful tips on how to involve neighbours, road closures and insurance.
www.thebiglunch.com The aim of The Big Lunch is to get as many people as possible across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours as a simple act of community friendship and fun.
Idea: The fourth annual Big Lunch will be on Sunday 3 June 2012, the same weekend as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Why not get together with neighbours on your street to organise a Big Jubilee Lunch?