Street Association Christmas parties showed communities, not least in poorer areas, being incredibly generous, with residents donating food galore, expensive raffle prizes, decorations – and creating elaborate grottos for Santa to feel at home.
The biggest was the Vauxhall Crescent Christmas party in Smith’s Wood, a needy area of north Solihull. There, even the adults got put through their paces in a particularly mean version of Simon Says!
Armstong Drive and Cowley Close Street Association, also on the Cars estate in Smith’s wood, had its own party, with games, crafts and food galore. Residents were delighted with what had been achieved. The party followed a big fireworks party in November, with a bring-and-share barbecue.
Finally, Clover Road and Naunton Close Street Association in Lower Shenley, Birmingham, had its party, bringing together neighbours who have now really started to get to know each other, build trust and real friendships and look out for each other. Activities included poetry readings and singing (very well!) to a backing track, showcasing some of the talent in the local area.
Martin Graham, founder of the Street Associations initiative, said, “It’s quite moving to see how many people contribute, asking nothing in return, giving food, preparing games, donating raffle prizes and the like. It’s bringing the community together and bringing out the best in people. Community spirit meets Christmas spirit!”
The Vauxhall Crescent party was visited by Cll Diana Holl-Allen, Solihull Cabinet member for Stronger Communities, who said, “I hope examples like Vauxhall Crescent inspire people across Solihull to found their own Street Associations”.