The Big Lunch
Small and simple projects requiring little organisation can sometimes make a big difference in enhancing communities. One such project is The Big Lunch from the people behind the Eden project. The event brings neighbours together one day each year for a joyful street lunch party to embrace the potential of strengthening relations, community bonding and further community initiatives. Perhaps more importantly, it facilitates discussions and understanding of each other’s issues and the opportunity for first steps to help each other find solutions.
The Big Lunch was launched as a national project in 2009. It encourages local residents to organise street events, which can be anything from a garden lunch to a full-blown street party. Since the launch thousands of Big Lunches have been organised by local residents UK-wide, involving close to a million people each year. After two years, the results on the ground are extremely impressive. A 2011 survey of Big Lunch participants showed that:
+ 89% said it encouraged a sense of community
+ 89% thought it brought generations together
+ 74% created new relationships which they wanted to continue
+ >50% said that they felt less isolated after the event.
We think the simplicity of the initiative is its greatest value. There are only a few steps to organise a Big Lunch event:
+ find out who wants to come and get involved
+ settle on a venue, for example: a street, an estate, a garden, community centre or a school
+ invite your neighbours and tell them more about the event
+ close your road if applicable & get permissions
+ make the Big Lunch safe & get a licence if required.
The Big Lunch as an organisation supports local organisers by providing information packages. It promotes the idea of the Big Lunch and builds on outreach by national celebrities. Most recently, taking the opportunity of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the organisation successfully reached out internationally, resulting in communities throughout the Commonwealth organising Big Lunches.
Information and pictures sourced from http://www.thebiglunch.com | Department for Communities and Local Government | http://www.flickr.com/photos/foodstories | http://www.flickr.com/photos/dickdotcom. All rights reserved.