How to throw the ul­ti­mate street party

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

It was a great suc­cess that we hope to re­peat to­mor­row, helped this time by the street’s What­sApp group, now used weekly as a gen­eral re­source for bor­row­ing hedge trimmers, babysit­ters, cake tins and reg­u­lar cries for eggs or su­gar. It has also be­come an event to wel­come new neigh­bours into the street, and get past the po­lite hello to some­thing more mean­ing­ful.

While we’re rel­a­tive new­bies, Paul Selby is a street-party or­gan­iser pro. He sees the real so­cial value of these events, and has won a “Neigh­bour of the Year” award in Manch­ester, where he ar­ranged seven gath­er­ings. “We are get­ting peo­ple to do what they seem to have for­got­ten, such as a smile and a hello. The re­sult of meet­ing some­one over a beer and hot dog might just re­set things if some­one is hav­ing a bad day,” he says. “It’s great to get to know who lives around you, who you can call on for help, and to look af­ter each oth­ers’ houses when you’re away.”

Selby, 41, was very sad to leave his de­vel­op­ment in Brook­lands, Manch­ester, to move with his fam­ily to Southamp­ton. But he has now started up street par­ties there, and is pleas­antly sur­prised that south­ern­ers have proved to be just as so­cia­ble.

In fact, ac­cord­ing to the Big Lunch, the most so­cia­ble area of the UK is North­ern Ire­land (ac­cord­ing to the num­ber of street par­ties there), fol­lowed by Liver­pool, Ply­mouth, War­ring­ton and Manch­ester. Sarah Wil­liamson from east Belfast agrees, af­ter or­gan­is­ing her first street party when she moved into the area last year.

The street of red-brick semis, which is a mix of fam­i­lies, re­tirees and sin­gle peo­ple, has started to be­come a real com­mu­nity since then, she sug­gests. A quiz and a tug of war at the ten­nis club on the street helped break down some bar­ri­ers. “You need to build your neigh­bour­hood, and in mod­ern life it’s very easy not to con­nect with peo­ple prop­erly,” says the NHS man­ager. “I think get­ting to­gether in this way deep­ens your sense of home, mak­ing it

Throw your own Big Lunch, like this one in north London, main

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