The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual get together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden project, made possible by The Big Lottery Fund. It provides the perfect recipe to have fun with your neighbours, feeding community spirit and helping to build stronger locality.
People are the key ingredient, with those taking part creating friendlier communities in which they start to share more, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources.
The Eden Project an award winning social educational environmental social enterprise, started it in the belief that we, as a society, are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face when we face them together.
Recent studies show that communities across the UK are more fragmented and provide a lower sense of belonging than 40 years ago. The recent BBC One series Operation Meet the Street which featured this Big Lunch idea emphasised that whilst lots of us nod and say hello to our neighbours we don’t now take the time to have real conversations, instead spending that time on building online friendships.
The Big Lunch idea gives us all that reason to take an introductory step, getting our neighbours together informally. Ordering your free pack and inviting a few folk is not as hard as you might think and surprisingly those who have tried it to date here in Northern Ireland have said it was amazingly well received locally and in some cases has led to further neighbourhood activity. So you see you really can start to change how people feel as part of our wider community by simply starting conversation.
If you are a well connected person this could be the perfect way to give back locally, you may find it easier to kick this off and if you are a little shy but really want to know more local folk and get back that old fashioned sense of community, you can make this happen by joining forces with a more outgoing person and do the inviting together, people say the fun starts at the planning stage when new friendships are formed so there is a lot to be gained from bringing residents together to make this simple event happen.
Big Lunches of all sorts and sizes have happened in all kinds of communities, in streets, entries, back gardens, parks and local community venues. Since starting in 2009, thousands of events have taken place each year, with a whopping 4.85 million folk taking part last year.
So we are all invited to take up the call to action and block out our diaries for the next Big Lunch day Sunday 7th June 2015.