[O]n the 11th of August, a group of residents of Carleton Hall Walk in Penrith pooled their collective resources to organise a family friendly, inclusive and free street party for their whole neighbourhood.
There was no formal occasion or event, just a shared desire to build a brilliant free day out that would bring the local community together. An opportunity for neighbours to begin developing new friendships on shared experiences and memories. It started as chatter amongst a group of friends who became the core team for the party.
- Laura F Co-ordinator
- Joshua F. Food Purchase and Preparation
- Delana D Food Prep / Party Supplies
- Carole K. – Activity Support / Entertainment
- Alice. O Food Planning Support
- Gemma. K – Decorations / Planning
- Stacy. H. – Planning / DJ hire
- Steph S. – Food Prep / Party Assistant
Several values were considered in every planning decision:
- Everyone being welcome as long as they live in that neighbourhood (or are invited by someone in the area)
- Everyone coming to the party would bring something to share for the Pot Luck and BBQ meal planned.
- Nothing at the party should cost the attendees any money, so all activities / games / contests much be free to participate in.
The shared vision was of a party that would be accessible to everyone. With no tickets or monetary costs to attend, rather a contribution of food, drinks, or snacks to the shared for the Potluck community barbeque. On the day of the party, food donations were received that ranged from Pizza, salads and cakes, to enough delicious homemade curry and rice to feed everyone!
As this street benefits from a range of different cultures and backgrounds, assistance was received from the bilingual young people to help translate some of the English language flyers and notices into Polish. This ensured every invite included both languages to try and make everyone feel a welcomed and considered for the party.
Planned as a zero budget event resulted in some creative problem solving. For example, a car boot sale was suggested, but required visitors to bring money or avoid part of the party. A ‘Swap Stall’ was instead created where anyone could take a product from the stall provided a) they swapped with an item of their own or b) they contributed to the party effort in some way. During the party, many children took part enthusiastically in collecting litter and sorting recycling in order to take their pick of the swap stall.
Laura Fossil contacted Impact Housing, as every house in this neighbourhood belongs to this housing association. Morwenna, a Housing Officer, supported this idea, and was able to generously donate £100 in supermarket vouchers to go towards food and provisions for the party on behalf of Impact Housing . This gift allowed the core team to purchase bulk BBQ meats, salads and condiments so everyone would be fed even if the pot luck was limited.
Emboldened by the support from Impact Housing and a shared sense of optimism, the team felt there was the potential to create a truly memorable event if everyone was able to reach out to connections they had. As well as contributions of all kinds from residents of this neighbourhood, several local stores and businesses took part in creating a spectacular party.
Flip Ents were contacted by Carole, who were available on the 11th and donated three full hours of a rodeo bucking bronco bull ride. This was the grand opener to the party and helped set the tone of the day.
The Morrisons Penrith store welcomed Josh, and assisted in preparing a meal for a large scale party on a budget, as well as donating a variety of free arts and craft supplies for a family friendly activity.
Sports Direct kindly donated two full sized footballs to the party, allowing for children and adults to join together for a kick about and to show off footy skills – not just at the party but for all the outside play days afterwards.
2nd Penrith Scouts kindly allowed use of outdoor equipment such as tables and benches that were used for socialising, running games and events. With the amount of activities planned, the extra table space was valuable!
Martin “DJ:MD” Dinnsdale of Kendal volunteered his time and DJ skills in creating a party atmosphere with a varied mix of music that everyone was able to enjoy up and down the street.
Highgate Turkeys employs Alice, who was an eager contributor to the party planning. Highgate Turkeys were thrilled to donate a large amount of food for the BBQ, including delicious sausages and bacon.
The party had a mix of games and activities to keep everyone entertained. These included a bucking bronco, an all ages Talent Show, balloon modelling, makeup and nail art stall, giant board games, water balloon fight, glitter fight, arts and crafts corner, football skills, trampolines, and cakes.
A short documentary style video has been produced from the party by Laura Fossil of Fossil Media, which has been submitted to the In the Loop: A Short Film Showcase being hosted by the Alhambra Cinema in Penrith on the 1st of September, and hopefully will be chosen to be shown during the Arts Festival event.