Blazing a trail

By - Wednesday 12th April, 2017

Could a jumble trail be right up your street?

Image author’s own.

Well, it will be for residents in Addiscombe and Shirley Park on Saturday 1st July 2017.

Not heard of a jumble trail? It’s a fantastic idea initiated in 2013. Martina Randles loved jumble sales, was a keen supporter of recycling and wanted a way to get to know her local community. She came up with the jumble trail, and the idea has gone from strength to strength across the country.

Addiscombe & Shirley Park Residents’ Association (ASPRA) held its first jumble trail in April 2016 on what was probably the coldest day of the year. Nevertheless, it created a warm atmosphere in the local community and has now become an annual event, albeit in 2017 being moved to what will hopefully be a warm summer’s day. And, as the idea could be replicated anywhere across the borough, we thought that it would be good to share our experiences, and hopefully encourage other jumble trails to spring up around Croydon.

Find your jumble trail champion

Put simply, a jumble trail is like a car-boot sale, but on your street. Communities co-ordinate to set up stalls outside their houses, either in their front gardens or on their drives, to sell bric-a-brac, toys, vintage clothes, home-made items, cakes… the list is endless.

So, how do you get started? First of all, you need someone to be the jumble trail champion. We had an organising team of three who set up the event online (via the dedicated website), produced publicity and marketing materials, and encouraged the shopkeepers and traders in Addiscombe Village and Shirley Park to display our posters. We had a fourth member of the team handling telephone enquiries. As the event was being organised under the auspices of our local residents’ association, we were able to call on local people to do leaflet drops in all the roads in our area. This year, we have a greater social media presence, and hope to reach a wider audience.

We decided to make a small charge of £5 per stall. Forty per cent of each fee went towards the administration and marketing of the event, but with over 50 stalls signed up we were able to generate some income to contribute to the funding of the Christmas lights in Addiscombe Village, paid for by ASPRA. It was up to individual stallholders if they wanted to sell items on their stalls to raise money for charities of their own choice.

A great opportunity to clear out cluttered attics, loft spaces and garages!

In our marketing, we encouraged the idea of residents recycling items that they no longer wanted either by giving them away or making a small charge for them. There was certainly a lot of therapeutic clearances of attics, loft spaces and garages in the Addiscombe area! It proved a great opportunity to declutter, to offload outgrown children’s toys, games and clothes, and to encourage those who had left home to make decisions about items still in storage in the family home (probably a scenario familiar to many).

We were also delighted to discover the creativity and talents of some of our residents. The range of hand-made items on sale included jewellery, greetings cards and soft furnishings. We had artists displaying their work. And anyone walking around the local streets were suitably fed and watered, with wonderful cakes and refreshments on offer. One stallholder even had a small band of children playing musical instruments to entertain passers-by.

It was wonderful to see neighbours talking to each other – sometimes for the first time

Practicalities sorted, did it meet our objectives? We wanted to bring our community together. The jumble trail proved an ideal way to do just that. It was wonderful to see neighbours talking to each other, sometimes for the first time. Stallholders met many new people from their neighbourhood. On my own stall, we had four generations of the family working together, which demonstrated how the event brought together those of all ages. It was delightful to see how young children got involved and enjoyed selling the cakes they had made.

Networking on the day also resulted in local residents finding out about other community activities in the area, and volunteers came forward to get involved.

It was heartwarming that something so simple could bring about so much community spirit, on which we have been able to build. If you want to see a jumble trail in action, do join us in July; go to: or

And if it has inspired you to organise one in your own area, check out

Lyn Simmons

Lyn Simmons

Lyn Simmons has lived in Addiscombe for 35 years. A retired conference and events manager, she is loving the revitalisation of Croydon and all the exciting cultural developments. She is involved with a number of community projects including the Addiscombe and Shirley Park Residents’ Association Jumble Trail.

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