Hackney’s street party champion joined forces with Babs and Boris today

Hackney’s street party champion joined London Mayor Boris Johnson and Carry On star Barbara Windsor, in encouraging Londoners to capitalise on the street party fever that has swept the city.

Last month street parties took place across the capital to celebrate the Royal Wedding and now local communities are being urged to reclaim their streets and create a more neighbourly society on Sunday June 5 for the biggest street party in the country - the Big Lunch.

Shane Solanki has been appointed Hackney’s Street Party Champion by Boris Johnson, to assist ex-Eastenders star and the Mayor’s street party ambassador Barbara Windsor in helping to promote a massive day of local participation across the city.

Celebrity chefs Antony Worrall Thompson and Levi Roots, and award winning musician Jazzie B joined in the promotion event in Wandsworth today.

Stoke Newington-born Barbara Windsor MBE said: ‘I am delighted that so many people have answered the call to become a local champion, to help me promote a bit of community spirit.”

Shane has been instrumental in organising a Big Lunch event on the Lockner Estate off Kingsland Road in Dalston over the past three years, and loves street parties because they bring neighbours together.

“London can be an isolating place to live,” he said.

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“There are lots of people moving in and out, new neighbours can often be shy, especially if they migrated from further afield, plus we live in a society which is increasingly more fragmented.

“Street parties can be an opportunity to meet your neighbours and begin to develop links with your community - all in the name of fun,” he added.

This year the Lockner Estate Big Lunch party will feature workshops in parkour (street running), street art, beatboxing and capoeira, as well as henna painting and ping pong, a pamper corner for tired mothers and fathers and an escort service where young men and ladies will escort older residents to the party.

Since 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place across the UK and the best part of a million people get involved each year.