​The happiest street in Hove

A group standing by a table of food on a street.

Hannah Charnock shares her second Big Lunch success story as Shakespeare Street comes to life for Summer and Winter events!

'The party totally transformed the nature of the street; barely anyone knew anyone else before the party, but afterwards there was such a community spirit'

'I moved to the street almost three years ago and I knew my neighbours either side but nobody else. There had been street parties in a street close to where I used to live, but I lived in a block of flats on a main road where it wasn’t possible to have a street party,' says Hannah. 'The street we live on now has 65 houses and is in an area of Hove called Poets Corner. The roads are all named after poets and we’re Shakespeare Street. Last year, I couldn’t do the Big Lunch on Big Lunch day so we did it in July but it fitted nicely as it was Shakespeare’s 450th birthday so we themed it for his birthday.

'Some of us got together to make homemade bunting a few weeks before the event and that helped us get to know one another before the main event.

'The day was a roaring success, with neighbours getting together not only to share a lunch, but also pooling their talents to entertain each other with various activities during the day. The party totally transformed the nature of the street; barely anyone knew anyone else before the party, but afterwards there was such a community spirit — it went without saying that it would not be the last party on the street!

'A Shakespeare Street Facebook group was subsequently formed and is used regularly to share news and ideas (including currently looking at getting trees planted on the street), and to organise future events. A Shakespeare Street Christmas party was then held at the local pub, including a raffle which raised over £800 for the Rockinghorse Appeal and Oxfam. Having the Facebook group also made the Big Lunch a whole lot easier to coordinate the second time around.'

'Among many activities at this year’s party we had laughter, yoga, Bollywood dancing and a Street Bake Off. Even the street’s canine residents were catered for with a dog show, ‘Ruffs’. The party was again sponsored by our generous local estate agent Whitlock & Heaps, who helped contribute towards the cost of a bouncy castle, childrens’ entertainer and live local band, The Real Decoys. The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Lynda Hyde was also present with her entourage to cut our cake and join us for lunch.

'Shakespeare Streeters are convinced it’s the happiest street in Hove!'

If you’d like to bring your neighbours together, take a look at how to Organise a Big Lunch, where you can find tips and ideas, or you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or email us at communities@edenproject.com. We love to hear all about your plans!