How To Plan An Eco-Friendly Jubilee Street Party
In June 2022 the UK and Commonwealth countries will be celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne in 1952, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
There is a special environmental focus to the Platinum Jubilee; The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative is encouraging people to plant trees to leave a lasting green legacy.
To celebrate the Jubilee there is a special bank holiday in the UK from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June. Communities will be coming together for the occasion and many will host street parties.
So here’s our guide to organising a street party with tips for how to make it a little more eco-friendly...
Street Party Venue
The venue might seem obvious given it’s a street party, however it does require some consideration and pre-planning.
To close a road for a street party you will need permission from your local council. This should be arranged at least 6 weeks ahead of the event. Some councils charge a fee for granting road closure and may require organisers to have public liability insurance. Some councils have announced they will be waiving the normal road closure fee for the Jubilee or are offering funding for local events. If you live on an estate with a management company you may also need to liaise with them. More advice on road closures is available from Streetparty.org.uk
If closing the road isn’t an option, you could have the event in front gardens or driveways along the street, or host in a back garden, local park or community hall.
Getting Others Involved
Make sure neighbours know about the event and can easily get involved.
This might mean knocking on doors, putting up posters, posting on a local Facebook group or in a community app, such as the Nextdoor app.
Ensure there's a way for people to access information about the event including any updates. Creating a Facebook Event is an easy way to do this, but do consider how to include people who may not have access to Facebook.
Please Take a Seat
Unless you're hosting at a community hall, which will likely have tables and chairs, you need to think about what you'd like people to bring to sit on.
Photos from past street parties often have a long line of tables with chairs down each side. You could recreate this by asking each household to bring a table and enough chairs for their party to sit on. However, you may want to keep it simple ad ask people to bring just a picnic rug or blanket to sit on.
For the Diamond Jubilee celebrated in 2012 my street opted to just have tables and then we stood around munching on cake. This worked well except for the weather, which we hadn't planned for. It was VERY wet the day of our street party and so we had a last minute panic finding tarpaulins and even a camper van awning to create a makeshift covering. It was fairly comical with a step ladder and pot of paint included in the set up and every time the wind picked up the people at the edge got wet - oh, how I wish now that I'd taken some photos! So yes, it's worth having a backup plan for bad weather.
Pass that Plate!
Next is tableware. Consider what's the best option for your party - do you need plates, bowls, cutlery?
Did you know.... an estimated 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery – most of which are plastic – are used in England each year, but just 10% are recycled. [Source The Guardian].
TIP: To avoid unnecessary waste from single-use tableware ask neighbours to bring their own plates or picnic sets, or hire your local party kit.
Street Party Food & Drink
Now you've got something to sit on and a plate to eat off, but what are you going to eat?!
A Jubilee celebration in the UK isn’t complete without Coronation Chicken. Created for the Queen’s coronation in 1953, Coronation Chicken is a sandwich filling made of cooked chicken, curry powder, mayonnaise, mango chutney and dried fruit. Or for a Vegan version, swap the chicken for chickpeas and use a Vegan mayonnaise - yum!
Other common street party foods include buffet classics such as sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, vegetable sticks, scones, fruit and of course cake - Victoria Sponge being a popular classic. Some items, like sponge cake and sausage rolls, can be made ahead of time, frozen and then defrosted for the event.
Keep the organising simple by asking neighbours to bring their own food and drink. If neighbours do bring food to share, ask them to bring a label with the ingredients so that anyone with allergies can avoid dishes which aren't suitable for them.
No one wants their lasting memory of an event to be food poisoning, so here's some tips from Kate at The Full Freezer on how to keep food safe at your street party:
Remember to keep cold foods cool whilst it is out; a great way to do this is to freeze water in a tray or large dish, then place your food in another dish on top. They should be kept out of the fridge for the shortest time possible and always out of direct sunlight.
For hot foods, make sure they are not sat out for longer than 2 hours, and once cooled, pop them into the fridge.
Make sure food is kept covered wherever possible to avoid flies landing on it; netted food covers are a great way to keep your food safe but still easily visible and accessible.
Did you know... More than 1.2 billion metres of single-use cling film is used by households across Britain every year [Source Keep Britain Tidy]. Cling film is made from plastic and difficult to reuse or recycle.
TIP: Instead of miles of cling film use food storage tubs - repurpose takeaway containers or use foil which can be washed to use again or be recycled.
Also see Ways to Avoid Food Waste At Parties
Ask neighbours to decorate their front door, front garden wall or balcony.
A street party wouldn’t be complete without bunting. Traditionally this would be a string of Union Jack flags or triangles coloured red, white and blue, but really any colours will set a festive mood.
If you don't already have a stash of bunting, you can make your own bunting from fabric. Or if sewing isn’t your thing, try making bunting from felt triangles, rag-tie or ribbons.
TIP: Sustainable fabric - rather than buying new fabric to make bunting try:
repurpose old bedding
ask for scraps via a local Buy Nothing or swaps Facebook group
head down to your local Scrap Store (Find your local store via Reuseful UK).
Netted pom-poms make a great reusable alternative to balloons. Fun and colourful, they are really durable meaning they can be used again and again long after the Jubilee. Unlike balloons, netted pom-poms are less likely to escape and end up as litter endangering wildlife.
Paper chains are an easy-to-make eco-friendly decoration. Use strips of scrap paper, pages from magazines, the kids artwork (although do check with the artist first!) or old greetings cards.
The team running The Big Jubilee Lunch have suggested a great idea for decorating your own street party tablecloth. Use an old tablecloth, bedding sheet or even the back of unwanted wallpaper rolls and get creative with fabric pens, markers or paint. This makes for a great community activity either before or during the event.
Jubilee fancy dress ideas include dressing as a Queen's Guard complete with bearskin cap, a knight or even donning a Ginger Spice inspired Union Jack dress.
Did you know... An estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste is created from 7 million discarded costumes at Halloween [Source The Fairyland Trust].
TIP: For a more eco-friendly approach to fancy dress, repurpose what you have, borrow, swap or buy preloved.
Planning for After the Party
This might seem strange, but one of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of a party is to plan ahead for what will happen after the event with the rubbish.
Ensure there's a plan for rubbish which might come from food wrappers, etc. There should be access to a rubbish bin and recycling points . Ensure these are clearly labelled so there's no confusion and items don't get mixed up. Check your local council website for details of what can be recycled locally.
Provide a food waste collection bin so scraps can be composted. If you don’t have a home compost or kerbside food waste collection in your area, try finding a community compost via ShareWaste.
Organise a team to take down decorations once the event has finished. This will help stop any decorations from becoming litter and a danger to wildlife.
Organise a team to check for litter after the event so that no rubbish is left behind.
For any leftover food which is still edible, encourage neighbours to take home leftovers or donate to local organisation, such as a community fridge.
Using your freezer to keep leftovers for longer is a great way to reduce food waste. Here's some tips from Kate at The Full Freezer:
Leftovers can then be frozen up to two days after the event if they have been looked after correctly.
Baked items can be frozen (even with icing!), although they will be softer than before freezing and decorations may ‘bleed’, so it’s best to serve them fresh on the day. A useful hack is to cut up larger cakes into slices and freeze them individually before popping in a tub or freezer bag. If they will be in your freezer for a while, you should wrap each slice individually in heavy duty foil, but if they’ll be eaten quite soon then they will be fine just in a bag or tub.
Even leftover sandwiches can be frozen, as long as they have been homemade fresh and haven’t been sat out all day. Just don’t freeze any with salad as they will go soggy.
For more tips on freezing sandwiches and other foods download a FREE copy of Kate's guide.
Get More Support to Plan a Street Party
For more ideas, inspiration and recipes, there's a great pack with loads of information about planning a street party for the Platinum Jubilee available to download from The Big Jubilee Lunch website.