Distributed planning in Tidy Street

Photo:It's fun to dress as Spiderman

It's fun to dress as Spiderman

Photo:Finishing off the trifle

Finishing off the trifle

Photo:Group of Tidy Street residents at the party

Group of Tidy Street residents at the party

Photo:Ellie MacDougall entertained the party goers with her singing

Ellie MacDougall entertained the party goers with her singing

Photo:Fun on the bouncy slide

Fun on the bouncy slide

Photo:The children enjoyed being able to cycle freely in the street

The children enjoyed being able to cycle freely in the street

Street party on 26th September 2010

By Sara Bragg, North Laine resident

Tidy Street held its street party on the 26th September, for the fourth consecutive year, and many people commented that it was our ‘best yet’. Perhaps this was because it was open and spontaneous – some might say disorganised - which allowed lots of people to get involved at different levels and it felt excitingly creative as all those efforts came together.

Those who contributed

Here are just a few by name who contributed to its success (with apologies in advance for any omissions):

  • Hugo Butterworth of ‘Pen and Ink’ for the beautiful poster design and for face-painting on the day
  • Tiffany Ferris for planning and running the bric-a-brac stall
  • Kim MacDonald for her thoughtful assembling of the children’s pass-the-parcel
  • Mark Erickson for ordering the bouncy slide
  • Bumbles for supplying it (and also for explaining why it would be better than a castle, which it was)
  • Mike Benbow and Billy Pollard for distributing parking and other notices and for always being ready with help, ideas and moral support
  • Ayesha and Elliot Daly for photocopying
  • Steve at PEP The Printers for printing our poster for free
  • Alexis Foreman for taking photos
  • Amanda Clarson for carpet storage
  • Heather Hacker for the memorable trifle
  • Jon Bird from Sussex University, who exchanged snacks and beer for conversations about his design project
  • The Brighton Tavern for reserving its side bar for our post-party pints (and Hugo, again, for arranging it)
  • Over Street for lending us their gazebos
  • Brighton Marquees for the carpet…  


Music is always a special part of the day; this year, Mr Richard returned by popular demand, and Ellie (Elisa) MacDougall from No 46 provided another great example of the hidden talent in our creative street, bringing along her own sound system and holding everyone spellbound with her singing. (She also performs with other family members: we say, book her now!)

Other helpers

That’s already a long list, but still leaves out others whose support was crucial: those who helped to get signatures for the street closure petition, came to the planning meeting, gave things for the bric-a-brac stall or sent supportive messages (in some cases even though they couldn’t even attend the event); those who on the day brought out chairs and tables, provided barbecues and cooked on them for all and sundry, supplied many lovely dishes (including the delicious milkshakes laid out on a table by the student medics at No 16); those who donated money on request and those who did the asking; those who produced toys and other treats for the children, took turns to monitor the bouncy slide, helped clear up afterwards… and anybody not mentioned above who came along and enjoyed themselves, because that was really essential to the atmosphere too.

Only one meeting

All this was achieved with just one meeting beforehand and no advance budget, a model of ‘distributed local planning’ that I’d recommend to anyone. Congratulations one and all!

(All photos by Alexis Forman)

[Previously published in the North Laine Runner, No 207, November/December 2010]

This page was added on 16/12/2010.

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