To get us all into the spirit of Big Lunch day, which is now just over two weeks away, from Monday 30th May to Friday 3rd June we’re doing five days of Big Lunch giveaways! Make sure you are following us on Facebook and Twitter so you can keep an eye out for what’s up for grabs and how to enter.
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Liz Weir is a storyteller and writer from Northern Ireland who believes in the principals of The Big Lunch and wants to motivate us to tell our story at and after our Big Lunches.
So everyone who gets in touch to share your story before, during and after The Big lunch will be entered into a draw to win a story telling session for a group or your choice – dates to be arranged with Liz.. Whether you attend or organise a Big Lunch doesn’t matter we want to hear from you.
What do we need from you?
When you are planning your Big Lunch photography and peoples opinion are high on your list of priorities but on the day you are pulled in 100 different directions. So be prepared!
Send us your memories, thoughts and ideas afterwards to email@example.com
Don’t forget to tell us about the project, group school or gathering you would to employ Liz’ talent with and the dates that would suit.
Your first hand experiences and opinions are hugely important to The Big Lunch. Its your stories that inspire others to join in and its your ideas that help us reach out and engage more and more people to take part each year. We want The Big Lunch to be happening in every county, town and village so please keep sharing and motivating others.
Its never too late to take part so register your interest and get our news and ideas.
Have fun at your Big Lunch.
We are 55 per cent more likely to start a conversation with someone if they have a dog and more than half of us say that having a dog improves relationships in the community!
While two thirds of us have never shared a meal with our neighbours, we are more likely to strike up conversation with those with dogs. Hosting or joining a Big Lunch on June 12th is a great way to make new friends, share stories, to have fun, whether you have a canine friend or not – it offers a simple way to make lasting relationships and most Big Lunches are also dog-friendly.
Our research revealed that having a dog is good for your social life, with 42% of people saying that they’ve made three friends through being a dog owner, as well as 75% of survey respondents saying that having a dog reduces feelings of loneliness.
This week we thought we’d put our research to the test at a dog-friendly Big Lunch in Bermondsey Street, London. Local dog owners brought their canine companions along for a day of dog-training, treats and cake, and spoke about how their furry friends have made their neighbourhood more friendly!
But if you don’t have a canine companion, here is The Big Lunch’s guide to making new friends in your community.
Students at Ysgol Y Deri School have been putting their cooking skills in action this week in preparation for a very important community Big Lunch.
Over the past year, the students have been learning catering and life skills in the professional kitchen at the new ‘super school’ in Penarth. The catering course offers young people with a diverse range of special educational and behavioural needs a chance to learn all about food—from what’s in season, to how to prepare, cook and serve food—and help them build life skills too.
Ysgol Y Deri’s Big Lunch on 15th June, is a chance to show how much the students have learnt over the past year and to show how much their confidence and social skills have developed.
Parents, school governors, and residents from the local community and nearby sheltered accommodation have been invited to attend the Big Day—a lunchtime picnic in the school grounds. Treats for the day include vegetarian sausage rolls, quiches, scones, chocolate brownies as well as a Big Lunch special recipe drink created by one of the students: Tudor’s citrus party lemonade!
Catering tutor, Joe Rowson, said:
“The school has only been open eighteen months so our Big Lunch is a great way to welcome the local community to our school and share a special day with them. Although the food students cook is sold in the canteen, they’re too busy cooking and cleaning to see people enjoying it. Our Big Lunch will be a lovely opportunity for them to see how much their skills are appreciated and enjoyed.”
Dianna McDowell, a regular Big Luncher and founder of the Molly and Mia Foundation, tells us why The Big Lunch is so important to her community and her charity.
How did you first hear about The Big Lunch?
I picked up a Big Lunch pack a few years ago at the The Balmoral Show. I realised that team members from our charity, the Molly & Mia Foundation, had been involved in previous Big Lunches, just not under our name. When I saw that there was a weekend camp at the Eden Project for people wanting to get more involved in the Big Lunch I just had to register because I felt that they needed me and I needed them! I’ve always been a big community fundraiser and organiser and I work with an amazing team of helpers.
Can you tell us more about your charity – the Molly & Mia Foundation?
Our charity was formed six years ago – a few months after my darling twin daughters, Molly and Mia, died at birth because of pregnancy complications. I was very, very ill myself but I pulled through. I decided to organise all of my on-going fundraising efforts in to one foundation in the girls’ names.
What kind of work does the Molly & Mia Foundation do?
When we started the charity, we wanted to bring communities together – with a twist. Thanks to a fantastic team of volunteers we empower children aged 4 to 16 to organise local events. We help them set up Big Lunches as well as big steak barbecues for the community, family Christmas lunches, high teas and cooked lunches.
How do your volunteers go about organising their Big Lunches?
We run cookery and bakery schools and that’s where the kids get everyone together to take part in the Big Lunch. We teach the children how to make lots of things like pasta dishes, coleslaw and potato salad. We also bring in skilled cooks to show them how to prepare, chop, marinate, cook and garnish things like curries, pizza, garlic breads, bolognese, steak pies and chicken pies. In bakery class they make scones, cakes, sponges and pavlovas – all of which they prepare and decorate, then serve on the day… and they eat them as well, of course!
We’re very lucky to have Magees as our sponsors. They’re based in Asda stores and they’re so helpful to us. Without their support our Big Lunches couldn’t run like this.
What’s it like in the run up to The Big Lunch?
On the Thursday and Friday before it’s like a very busy hotel kitchen. The children are proudly showing everything they’ve learned in the classes. They’re busy preparing and cooking everything in readiness for our hot Big Lunch sit down meal or for our high tea.
And then on the big day?
Our kids are dressed up in our smart Magees aprons and our Molly & Mia hats and they’re busy serving the whole community who all come along and eat together. It’s lots of hard work but it’s all worth it when you see families from far and beyond all come together for The Big Lunch. It’s definitely the way forward for bringing communities together.
This is turn helps the Molly & Mia Foundation as we want families who have lost a baby to come together to get support after their loss. By bringing all these people together they learn more about our charity and they get involved.
We then go on to use our beautiful memory garden in Fivemiletown where we run family barbecues all year round. We also run other Big Lunch events at the Galgorm Resort and Spa where families from all over Northern Ireland come together and remember the baby they’ve sadly lost. By everyone working together, from our own volunteers, to the kids we teach, to our kind sponsors, we can make these valuable, much-needed events happen.
Find out more about the Molly and Mia Foundation
There is £2000 worth of £50 vouchers available to constituted and non constituted groups, neighbours, schools and clubs in Northern Ireland.
Find out how to win a voucher for your neighbourhood…
The Big Lunch is an initiative led by the Eden Project and funded by Big Lottery encouraging neighbours to sit down and share food and conversation. Sounds simple and it is. Your Big Lunch can be anywhere from your garden to your street, park, school or shared space. Sunday 12th June, is a day of Big Lunches across the UK and in Ireland a day to enjoy with the people who live near you.
There are lots of good reasons to have a Big Lunch, and we find they do lead to a stronger sense of community. We recommend you keep your event fairly simple especially if its your first year. Big lunches are best when you take part on a shoe string with everyone bringing something to the table, from home made cake to bunting and music. Everyone of any age can be a part of it and play their part in it too, from sharing memories to lending a hand, its all about celebrating good old fashioned community spirit!
People will be having Big Lunches on 12th June to celebrate good neighbourhood, and we hope you join in too!
Why we started it
The Eden Project started The Big Lunch 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 Big Lunch proves how the simple first step of sharing lunch together can start to change how people feel as part of their wider community and can lead to much more.
And we really hope you and your neighbours will join in on Sunday 12th June. It’s going to be a very special day!
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Negeena Khan, founder of Get2Gether (Mil Jul), talks to us about how she is tackling loneliness in her community and embracing The Big Lunch in a way that suits her and her community during Ramadan: the Big Lunar Lunch!
“I have been hosting a Big Lunch in my local community of Bradford Moor since 2012. The events are rewarding because they are attended by people of all ages and cultures and have a very relaxing, friendly atmosphere, allowing the community to share a universal love of food whilst talking about issues that affect them. These events are crucial because they help to address the issues around loneliness within Bradford Moor identified by the local community following our involvement in the Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme, funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
These two initiatives were the catalysts that helped me understand the underlying challenges facing our community and they offer possible solutions. They inspired and supported me to set up a confidence building group to empower local people to make positive changes in their community, with a clear focus on reducing loneliness. Since then we have set up a charity organisation called Get2Gether (Mil Jul). We look at ways to allow the community to meet in safe spaces, to share culture and skills, break down social barriers and help people connect.
Get2Gether is a group of local women who all want to improve their community and make it a happier place to live. People want to make things better, but they lack confidence. Initially a lot of my work focused on tackling these hurdles and building relationships within the community in order to bring about positive change. The members of Get2Gether are now empowered ambassadors who are able to speak to members of the community about issues and implement ways to improve them.
Get2Gether holds many events; as well as The Big Lunch we also organise Cultural Community Markets. These events have grown and now over 800 people attend. The markets are safe spaces to share culture and skills and find out what is available in the community and to find out who their neighbours are – they benefit residents of all ages.
What I love about The Big Lunch is the simplicity – it’s about getting together with your community to mix with different generations and cultures to have meaningful conversations with others. We share our stories, our love of food and our community. It’s a really positive event that brings people together, friendships grow, new ideas from and blossom.
The Lunar Lunch offers an alternative to the traditional lunch, which is great because some people find day time events difficult because of working patterns, religious beliefs and difficulties in making ends meet. With a Big Lunar Lunch, everyone can come to the table!
I have always received such positive feedback about the events we hold and people request they take place much more frequently. The Big Lunch is happening on the 12 June 2016, during the month of Ramadan where the traditional lunch hour will be missed during this blessed time. So this year I will be hosting a Big Lunar Lunch at iftari time (sunset), for those in my community who will be observing the blessed month of Ramadan.
As a Muslim I believe that before asking God for the welfare of one’s own household, we should ask for the same blessings for our neighbours. Ramadan is a time of spiritual renewal, doing good for others, prayer, and re-commitment to bettering oneself. We enjoy the increased opportunities to spend time and strengthen bonds with our families, friends and the community.
Following the precedents set by the Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) many people in my community deliver iftar platters to the neighbours as a way of spreading the Ramadan cheer and spirit. This opens up lines of communication, appreciation, and understanding between people.
This is indeed a good tradition and I want to take this one step further by hosting a Big Lunar Lunch at iftari time (9.42pm) on 11 June 2016.
So join me – get together with your community to have a Big Lunar Lunch! If we all embrace the opportunity to throw Lunar Lunch, we can make this a really positive time for everyone that will inspire others even beyond Ramadan.
Temperatures across the UK are soaring based on our ‘Human Warming Index’, which shows Big Lunch pack registration totals from 2010-2015.
While the map above shows how the different regions of the UK are faring, you can also check out how your local area is heating up on our interactive map here.
Did you know, according to research, that dog owners are known to be a particularly friendly bunch? That’s why we’re celebrating the special relationship between dogs and people…
If you own a dog, are part of a community group bought together by dogs or hold a Big Lunch with any dog related activities, we want to hear from you!
You can reach us on 0845 850 8181 (local rates apply) or drop us a line to email@example.com
Organising a Big Lunch this year? Make sure you let us know to be in with a chance to win some Big Lunch goodies! It doesn’t matter if it’s your first Big Lunch and you are signing up for a pack, or if you are taking part this year but don’t need one of our packs, just make sure to register online to let us know you are joining in by Sunday May 29th and you’ll be entered into our Big Lunch prize draw!
We’re giving away 20 prizes to Big Lunchers, that will include a selection of badges, t-shirts, mugs and aprons.Winners will be drawn at random from everyone that lets us know they are taking part in The Big Lunch by registering their participation or requesting a free Big Lunch pack here.
The deadline for registrations being included in the prize draw is midnight on Sunday 29th May.
The prize draw is only open to residents of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Please read the terms and conditions below.
Terms and Conditions: