The Big Lunch is urging everyone in Belfast to get involved in this year’s event on Sunday 1 June.
The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. The aim of the Lottery-funded event, which is now in its sixth year, is to get as many of the 63 million people in the UK as possible to have lunch with their neighbours once a year. Free packs can be requested online, they include posters, invitations, an inspiration booklet and other materials to help organise your Big Lunch, so there’s no excuse for Belfast residents not to get their community together for a day of friendship, community and fun this June.
Not started planning yet? Don’t worry, there is plenty of time; Big Lunches can be big or small and can take place on a street, garden or community space, anywhere where neighbours can get together.
Getting your own Big Lunch off the ground is simple and inexpensive, 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. In fact, organising a Big Lunch is easier than you think; all you need to do is follow a few simple steps:
1. Settle on a venue, anywhere from a street to a garden or local community space
2. Invite your neighbours, with free invitations available in your Big Lunch pack Decide on who will bring what food, such as a bring-your-own picnic or a barbeque
3. Arrange your decorations and music – bunting templates are also included in the pack.
Beverley McCallen who runs Elmgrove Manor, a Trinity Sheltered Housing complex in East Belfast, held a Big Lunch last year and is urging others in the area to get involved.
Beverley said: “We are proud to have been part of The Big Lunch neighbourhood celebration since 2011 and would encourage others to give it a go. The free pack is available to any local resident to order, simply go to www.thebiglunch.com and click ‘join in’.
The benefits of having a Big Lunch? Research from The Big Lunch showed that over 60% of organisers say having an event in their community made them feel less isolated and 86% of the 3.65 million people that took part in last year’s Big Lunch reported a positive long term effect in their neighbourhood as a result.
The Big Lunch is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax, ASDA and StreetClub by B&Q. Big Lunches can be big or small and they don’t need to cost much because everyone brings something to the table. People are the key ingredient!