Walkers set off on mammoth journey

Zakia and derek

The Big Lunch aims to bring communities across the UK together

15th May 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Intrepid walkers are set to embark on a mammoth journey to bring communities together.

Over two weeks a gardener, care worker, civil servant and bee keeper will be amongst four teams visiting neighbourhoods and communities across the UK, inviting everyone they meet to join in The Big Lunch on 1 and 2 June.

Last year, more than six million people took part in the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours.

An idea from the Eden Project, made possible by the National Lottery, The Big Lunch is about millions of people getting together to share food and get to know each other better in gardens, streets, communal spaces and parks right across the UK. 

Representing Scotland are Zakia Moulaoui, founder of Invisible Cities – a Scottish social enterprise that trains local people who have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own cities – and Derek Harper, who has worked as a greenkeeper, an architectural technician, and has even run a pub, but says that volunteering and becoming part of a community has transformed his life.

Together with the rest of the walk crew, the Scotland team will set off from Zakia’s home town in Edinburgh on Friday 17 May and visit voluntary organisations and community projects in Shotts, Dunfermline, Dundee, Blairgowrie, Forres, Inverness, Brora, Thurso, Kirkwall, Aberdeen, Fettercairn before ending in Brechin (Derek’s home town).

Earlier this year, The Big Lunch released a OnePoll survey of over 4,000 people that found almost three quarters (72%) of the UK population don’t feel they know their neighbours well and one in five don’t even know the names of their neighbours.

Speaking about why she applied for this walk, Zakia said: “I feel very passionate about showcasing the great projects/campaigns and ideas that take place in our communities so I am very excited in taking part in the Big Lunch Community Walk. I think community is about finding a sense of belonging, a place of acceptance and a place where you can be empowered and empower others, whether it’s about a place or a group of people.”

Derek said: “To play my part in reconnecting people with each other, their place and to nature would be an absolute honour. To be on The Big Lunch Community Walk, and to take it back home is something I never imagined would happen.”

Peter Stewart, executive director of Eden Project, said: “Our amazing walkers are heading out to connect with people at the heart of the UK’s communities and invite everyone to take a simple step to come together for a Big Lunch.

“We know there is appetite to close the distance and get to know each other better. Over three quarters (76%) of people we surveyed believed it’s better for communities if we know our neighbours well.”