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21 March 2011

Feeding the Five Thousand?

Feeding the Five Thousand?

The momentum is beginning to gather. Speculation about the dress is growing and newspaper articles increasingly feature the latest events in the lives of the royal couple. The wedding of the year will be filling our TV screens at the end of April. Whatever your views on royalty, here is an opportunity for the Church to do what it should really be good at - holding parties! After all, they can be a foretaste of heaven... So whether you do something next month or later in the year why not consider taking celebration out of your church and onto the streets and hold a street party? It will create new opportunities to get to know neighbours, undermine negative stereotypes of Christians as 'kill-joys', and should actually be fun too...

A few top tips

  • Build wide ownership from the outset if you can
  • Plan simple ways of including everyone: chairs for those who are older/disabled, children's activities & food, a play area for toddlers, range of music, and name/ house number labels
  • Food & drink: where possible plan beforehand who will bring what & when
  • Activities & games: such as tug of war, skittles, darts or pavement hopscotch, guess the oldest resident; biscuit decorating or face painting for children; swap tables; where your neighbours come from using markers on a world map
  • Think beforehand about how to minimise risk: BBQ burns, accidents, breakages, electrical problems
  • Share ideas and information: set up a street Facebook page for the event
  • British weather: have a Plan B in case of bad weather
  • Cars: don't forget to remind everyone the night before to move them
  • At the end: before the event agree how the clearing up will be done & who by and make sure it's done thoroughly

What about the legal stuff?

  • Closing the road: you need to apply 1-3 months ahead for permission from your council highways department. Each council varies in what they require and there may be a charge.
  • Insurance: many local councils require public liability insurance for small street parties (cost approx £50) or they may require you to sign an indemnity if street closure is involved
  • Fire safety implications: if putting up a marquee or having a BBQ you will need to contact your local Fire Service
  • Permit to serve food: as a private party you don't need a permit under the Licensing Act 2003 to sell hot food unless you plan to do so after 11.00pm
  • Selling alcohol: as a private party it's OK to share alcohol or ask for donations but if you're going to sell it you need to get a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) from your local council for which you'll have to pay a small amount. If an element of the donations towards the party's cost is put towards the price of alcohol you also may need a TEN or premises licence
  • Playing music: if you're holding a private party for residents & the music isn't advertised in advance to attract people, and you're not making money, you don't need a licence whether its live or recorded music
  • Permission for a tombola/raffle: probably not needed if tickets are sold and the draw made on the day. If the prizes are not worth more than £500 in total then it will be exempt from gambling regulations but if tickets are sold in advance you will need a lottery registration. Your council can advise. All proceeds must go to a good cause such as a charity or towards the cost of the street party

For further ideas visit www.streetparty.org.uk or www.theroyalwedding-2011.info

Fran Beckett OBE
Consultant - Anthony Collins Solicitors