Get involved in the Big Lunch

Big lunch

The Big Lunch is the UK’s largest annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery

20th February 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Voluntary sector organisations have been invited to join a movement which aims to bring the community together.

A nationwide celebration of togetherness, The Big Lunch is the UK’s largest annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery.

The benefits of taking part in the event were highlighted at The Gathering this week, with the Eden Project hosting the Strong Community Bonds session.

A staggering 6.5 million people were invited to Big Lunches last year, and 4.7 million people said they had made new friends by attending events.

Tracey Robbins, head of UK delivery for Eden Project Communities, said building strong community bonds are even more important in times of increasing uncertainty.    

She said: “We are trying to give people permission to knock on their neighbours’ doors, enabling them to connect with each other.

“The reason we produce a physical pack every year is so that those who sign up feel like they are a part of something.

“The pack gives people the confidence to go out and speak to their neighbours, and they can ask other people if they want to be part of it.

“It really is a grassroots movement, it’s informal and it mainly happens at street level.”

Lucy Holroyd, NHS community gardens manager at Cyrenians, has organised regular community lunches at the Royal Edinburgh Community Hospital after hosting a big lunch and said food really helps to bring people the charity supports together.

“Bring people together through food is really important for all of us,” she said. “If you are in a hospital setting, you are ticking your food choices off a list. Generally you are eating on your own.

“But through hosting a community lunch in our garden, we can make eating a much more positive experience. It really is a highlight of the week.”

Kathryn Welch said hosting Big Lunches at the Macrobert Arts Centre had helped the community feel more connected with the venue.

“It was the perfect opportunity to let people into the arts centre, and let them do what they want with it,” she said. “In formal spaces you often ask people to come and do something specific – to watch a show or a film.

“The Big Lunch was a glorious opportunity to say ‘we’ll give you the space, we’ll bake the cakes, but you do the rest’.”

For more information on the Big Lunch, see the Eden Project Communities website.