Last weekend, all around Ireland it was time to put bunting up, get neighbours in the community together and throw a big party all in the name of Street Feast.
ChangeX partnered with Street Feast this year to spread the word and get more people excited about the annual event which took place on June 14th. More than 150 neighbourhoods joined in and made last Sunday a magical celebration of community life.
Everyone we’ve spoken to has a similar story to tell about having a wonderful time, experiencing the strength of community spirit, the willingness of everyone to help make the day a success and lots and lots of happy faces.
Of course, there were a few challenges too along the way. Jenny, in Edenderry wanted to host her party in her street, a cul de sac, but realised after contacting the city council that she couldn’t for security reasons. So she just invited everyone to her garden.
Around 60 people aged â€˜between 1 and 87â€² joined, everyone gave some money for the food and the kids were entertained with face painting. â€œI’m on a high today!â€, she told us. She hadn’t heard about the Street Feast until March and was surprised how simple the idea and the implementation was in the end. â€œI didn’t feel any weight on my shoulders doing it. Everybody helped to make it a great experience.â€
The community in Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare organised their Street Feast as part of the Burren Summer Festival, FÃ©ile an tSamhraidh. So many local talented singers attended that it resembled an open mic session. Their Feast took place in the car park of the local supermarket that owners Jim and Joline closed off for the day to make room for a barbecue and about 150 people who joined throughout the day. â€œWe had help from local volunteer groups. Everyone was in charge of something different like putting posters up, doing the barbecue, bringing tables and decorating the placeâ€, tells Jenny Morton from ChangeX Burren who supported Pauline Burke the main organiser of the Feast in the village.
â€œThis is better than any medicine that we could prescribeâ€, Jenny quotes one of the local GPs who attended the Feast.
The first step is always the hardest – making the decision to bring your neighbours together in your street or garden; especially if you don’t know your neighbours well. But in the end, people will thank you for the effort that you make and you can really contribute to how close people feel in the community. â€œIt should be like this all the timeâ€ a lady who hosted a Street Feast in Sutton, Dublin summed up her experience with Street Feast.
If you would like to keep the spirit and energy that your Street Feast has just sparked glowing over time, we at ChangeX would love to help. Just contact us or browse the ideas that bring communities closer together like GIY, IrelandXO, the Men’s Shed or ourChangeX Meetup.