Coronation & Community


The Coronation weekend will be a time for community, family and friends to come together, help each other out… and think big, say Viveca Dutt and Elaine Atkins

As well as the pomp and circumstance of His Majesty the King’s Coronation, it’s also a weekend for thinking big. From a cup of tea on the doorstep to a full-scale street party, it’s a time for really getting to know your neighbours and to be part of the big celebrations. 

The bank holiday on Monday 8 May is also a special day for communities to come together as part of The Big Help Out initiative to ‘lend a hand and make a change’. Thousands of organisations across the country will be getting together to help out in their local communities and to volunteer as much or as little as they can to make the day amazing.

The Big Help Out is a voluntary initiative supported by some of the UK’s biggest volunteer organisations, including the Scouts and the Royal Voluntary Service. The Big Help Out is open to all and any organisation or individual can join in. The objective is to raise awareness of volunteering and provide opportunities for people to make a difference in their communities. 

In the spirit of this, the South Woodford community will be joining in, and St Mary’s Church – in partnership with the South Woodford Society, South Woodford Gardeners, Woodford Greeners, East London Waste Authority, ‘Restarters’, London Borough of Redbridge and Co-op – is holding a completely free Restart Party and Repair Café at the Woodford Memorial Hall. This follows the resounding success of our previous Repair Café held in October last year. 

If you have broken electrical appliances or unravelling clothes, bring them along for a free repair and a fresh start. Alongside the repairs, sewing and darning, we will have a seed swap, a toy swap and a bicycle MOT station. Bring and collect seeds for your garden or pots and swap toys on the day. There will also be an opportunity to drop off your ‘grown out of’ toys, suitable for children up to 11, at St Mary’s on 3, 4 and 5 May (10am to 12 noon; no DVDs, videos or toys that need mains power, please). If you don’t have seeds or toys to swap, don’t worry. There is no obligation to bring before you take! There will also be lots of information about recycling, reducing waste and volunteering opportunities in the local area. And thanks to the Co-op, there will be free refreshments throughout the event. So much to come along for! 

Our friends at Tin in a Bin, a charity which operates food bank collection points across Wanstead and Woodford, are appealing to anyone holding their own Coronation party to have a ‘tin’ collection to generate much-needed donations – a small gesture that will be a big help. “During the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, we put out a call to streets that were holding parties to collect donations of non-perishable food staples. The response was great; we received a huge boost from that appeal,” said a Tin in a Bin spokesperson. “King Charles III’s Coronation will see more street celebrations in our community and we are repeating the appeal. The sad fact is the economic environment is causing more need for food banks, but also reducing donors’ ability to give. We’re hoping the appeal this year will help replenish our depleted supplies.” 

However big or small your plans are, the Coronation is a wonderful opportunity for the community to celebrate as one.

The Restart Party and Repair Café will take place at Woodford Memorial Hall (207 High Road, E18 2PA) on 8 May from 10.30am to 1.30pm. For more information, visit stmaryswoodford.org.uk