Word on the grapevine is that Southend council is encouraging local residents to bring back the traditional British street party this Summer! They will be offering help with advice and road closure applications in aim to bring back Southend’s sense of community spirit. In recent years, the Eden Project have been advocating the Big Lunch every year on the first Sunday of June, and since 2009 they have already seen thousands of these Big Lunches take place all across the UK. Southend council aims for locals to take part in the upcoming Big Lunch, which will fall on the Sunday 1st June.

John Lamb, Southend council’s deputy leader, has said: “Local street parties are a terrific way to help neighbours get to know each other in a new way and strengthen community spirit”.

Havens department store in Westcliff experienced a roaring success for the local community when they organised for Hamlet Court Road to be closed last June for a good old-fashioned street party, as Southend made an appearance on BBC’s Millionaire Intern documentary series. With hundreds of people stopping by for food, entertainment and socialising. Nigel Havens, manager of the proud family-run store first established in 1901, stated that: “If we want to sort it out we have got to help ourselves and make sure we make a difference. It’s about bringing everyone together”.

Street parties should be part of our traditional British culture, but now it seems that they only occur when there’s some kind of royal event like a jubilee or a wedding. In 1977, approximately ten million people took to the streets in celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In comparison to the estimated two million people who celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with a street party in 2012. Neighbourhood parties are certainly losing their popularity in recent years, though still popular in many other countries around the world. So why is it that the British are falling behind?

It’s surely not to do with a lack of British pride. Here in Southend-on-Sea, we have buckets of it! So stay tuned this Summer. We’ll light up the barbecue, bring some food, drag out our chairs to the middle of the road and all get to know each other : )

Fancy organising a street party this Summer? Make sure to get the council’s permission well in advance. Visit the Southend council’s webpage on how to organise a street party for more information.

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