The Eden Project
The Big Lunch - an Eden Project

Partnered by

  • Big Lottery Fund - Lottery funded
  • Asda
  • Halifax
  • Streetclub


Pledge to give extra to your community

April 15, 2014
Author: admin

Our partner, the Halifax, understands how much community matters. That’s why they’re inviting everyone to make a pledge to support local communities and help make a positive change in our nation’s neighbourhoods, towns and streets.

 Halifax pledge poster

It all starts with a simple pledge

Right now, you can choose from one of five pledges and the Halifax will help you make it a success! The first 20,000 people to make a pledge to support their community will receive a reward to help them get started. What’s more, here at The Big Lunch we’ve teamed up with the Halifax to provide everyone who makes a pledge with some downloadable inspiration and tips.

How can I get involved?

Taking part and making a pledge couldn’t be easier! All you need to do is visit From there you can view the activity wall to see how others are pledging to support their community and you too can join in by making a pledge.


What are the five pledges?

  • Pledge to organise a Big Lunch for your neighbours on Sunday 1st June.
  • Pledge to host a bake sale to support a local cause.
  • Pledge to do a sporting challenge to support a local cause.
  • Pledge to support your local youth sports club.
  • Pledge to spruce up a local green space.


Pledge to give extra in your community today.

Visit to make your pledge.

You must be aged 18+ to make a pledge. Full terms and conditions are available here.

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Community, Halifax, Spreading the word
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Peace Bridge Big Lunch

April 14, 2014
Author: Grainne McCloskey

Community representatives from across Northern Ireland gathered on the Peace bridge, Derry city in support of The Big Lunch 2014 in Northern Ireland; highlighting community friendship and solidarity.

peace bridge big lunch derry city

Welcoming everyone, Alderman Gary Middleton said that building on the phenomenal success of 2013 City of Culture for Derry city, he was delighted to host the Northern Ireland launch of the Big Lunch, the annual UK-wide celebration of neighbourhood and would be encouraging residents across the city to host Big Lunches along the Derry City marathon route on Sunday 1 June and in their local neighbourhoods too.

Peter Osborne, Big Lottery Fund’s NI Committee member said he enjoyed the event very much: “This year The Big Lunch will be bridging friendships between neighbours in cities and villages across Northern Ireland and the UK and we hope it continues to bring people together and helps kick start good local conversations.”

a group of people enjoy cake and craic at Derry Guildhall during the launch of The Big Lunch 2014

Big Lunch Extras -provided food for thought with a mini session as part of the event. Big Lunch extras is the community boot camp led by the Eden project to help develop people’s skills, build their confidence and help spark new ideas that could make a difference where they live. It builds on the success of The Big Lunch, and is designed to bring the good conversations started at Big Lunches to life.

The event was designed to wet the appetites of residents and community representatives from the North West of Northern Ireland to take part in The Big Lunch 2014 in and around Sunday 1 June 2014.

The free pack  is available to all and will make the organisation of your day simple and straight-forward. All that is needed is enthusiasm and goodwill… and for everyone to bring something to the table, be it a salad, a piece of cheese or a cake.

For even more details and inspiration please click here and watch the Big Lunch film!



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Community, News, Northern Ireland
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Resourceful Big Lunch Week

April 11, 2014
Author: Trudi Holden

From 28th April-2nd May, The Big Lunch is teaming up with Start UK; calling on people to get involved in Resourceful Big Lunch Week.

Looking for the best ideas, resources and inspirational stories from across the UK; we’ll be discovering how a resourceful Big Lunch can be pulled together with little time or money! From sourcing chairs for free or growing your own salad leaves, to tapping into local volunteer groups and making everything from what’s already at home.

Big Lunch resourceful bunting


Monday - Resourcefulness

We kick off the week with an introduction to resourceful living; including ideas and resources on sustainable communities from our friends at Start UK and highlights from our panel event at the Eden Project (free tickets still available here).


Tuesday – Food!      

From growing your own food and reducing waste, to community land sharing and neighbourhood egg co ops; we’ll be celebrating all the great stories and ideas for resourceful eating.

We will also have a scrummy Big Lunch recipe from one or River Cottages chefs Steven Lamb.


Wednesday - Sharing & sourcing for free

A Big Lunch can be easy and free with a little nifty sharing and borrowing! On the Wednesday we celebrate all the great resources available and some insider tips to kitting your Big Lunch out for free.

Fancy trying you luck and testing your borrowing skills? Keep an eye out for our very own Big Lunch sharing challenge!


Thursday – Make it yourself

Decorate and entertain your Big Lunch with what you already have at home; using our inspiring ideas and how to guides throughout this day!

Keep an eye out for some crafty decoration and game ideas from some of our friends; like at Reuseful UK and My Make do and Mend Year.


Friday – building a bigger community       

To close the week, we explore the stories and experiences of people who have been resourceful in their communities; and explore opportunities for volunteering, fundraising and inspirational projects, like Big Lunch Extras.

Big Lunch Cardiff Workshops.04.05.13.©Steve Pope

How to get involved:

Do you have ideas, top tips or resources that you could share from one (or more…) of the themes above? You could:

  1. Come along to our free event at Eden Project and join in with our debate
  2. Get involved in our daily Twitter & and A sessions during the week; kicking off each day at 2pm
  3. Shout about your ideas and resources using @thebiglunch @Start_UK #BLresourcefulWk
  4. If you are an organisation or charity, get in touch with to find out more or be added to our calendar of activity


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Community, Decorations, England, Environment, Events, Friends, Games, How to, Ideas, Music, News, Northern Ireland, Recipes, Scotland, Stories, Top tips

Walk to Lunch

April 10, 2014
Author: admin

The recent warm weather inevitably turns our minds to spending time outdoors and there’s no better way to embrace spring than by signing up to Living Streets’ National Walking Month.

Walking is the easiest and cheapest exercise there is and a great way to keep fit, but it also allows you an opportunity to explore your local streets, meet your neighbours, make new friends and get involved with your local community. A great activity for Big Lunchers!

two girls walking to school

If you only experience your local neighbourhood through a windscreen, you could miss out. Miss out on what? Well, how about that fascinating conversation about old films with the man in the bookshop you just wandered into? And he just happens to live in the next street and yes, he thinks setting up a film club in the community hall is an excellent idea.

Or how about the lovely vase you bought from the woman at the table top sale? Turns out her children go to the same school as yours. Maybe you could take turns walking them to school and lower your stress levels and your fuel bills?

Whether it’s walking to work, to school, to the shops or simply for a stroll in the sunshine (we hope!), being present on your streets means you are at the heart of your local community and you have at least one thing in common with everyone who lives there!

Walking can easily fit into your daily routine. How about walking to work and adding a few pounds to your pocket instead of your waistline? You can take part in Walk to Work Week which runs from 12-16 May. You’ll be able to log all your walks, count miles and calories burned and compete with colleagues. It’s a great incentive to keep up the walking habit.

And at the end of National Walking Month, get together all the people you’ve met on your walks for The Big Lunch on 1 June and celebrate feeling healthier with your new friends.

Sign up on the Living Streets’ website for expert tips, advice and inspiring stories and see where walking can take you.


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Community, Sharing, Spreading the word
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Staverton Village’s Big Lunch

April 10, 2014
Author: Charlotte

Lesley and Tim’s rural village in Staverton increased in size from less than 250 residents to 1000 in just 10 years. They decided to hold a Big Lunch as they felt this would be a good opportunity to get together with old residents and new, to find new friends in the neighbourhood and build a closer and stronger community.

Lesley and Tim share their story:

“The goals for the day were not huge; we wanted a low cost and simple way to gather everyone together. There are lots of communal areas around Staverton that are maintained by the council and we mapped out three areas which we thought would be ideal for The Big Lunch. The places chosen were all good sites for families as they were near the canal, the play park and the duck feeding areas! Everyone was asked to bring a picnic along and sit together in one of the areas marked out for The Big Lunch.

Big Lunch on the green at Staverton

To fundraise for the event, we raised some money through holding a pub quiz, a raffle and a cake sale so that we could buy in a bouncy castle, face painting and music! The fundraising gave residents a chance to get involved in the preparation for the event. And different people came to the quiz than the picnic which meant that there was something for everyone, from the organising to the day itself.

On the day, roughly 100 people turned up – which was great seeing as many families had gone on holiday! The people that came along were a mix of both old and new residents which was the exactly what we wanted and everyone that came got involved.

Meeting new friends at Staverton's Big Lunch

Our Big Lunch in Staverton has definitely had an impact on the community. We will be getting the children involved in The Big Draw this year to get them interested in art and socialising together – and the chair of PTA at our local school is a resident in our community so that’s handy! We’re also thinking of organising an adult’s art class too.

This year we want to do a bigger event, we’re thinking of building The Big Lunch into a village fete type thing; we want to involve community orchards and allotments too!

To share your story please email

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Case Study, Community, Stories
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Michelle McManus lends her support to The Big Lunch again!

April 9, 2014
Author: Emily Watts

We’re delighted to have our celebrity ambassador,  Scotland’s girl next door, singer, and TV personality, Michelle McManus back on board for 2014.

Last week, Michelle chatted all things Big Lunch on the radio and visited local children at St Ninians Library who were attending a special Rhyme Time session organised by Stirling Libraries, and The Big Lunch.

BigLunch1 (6)

Michelle read ‘George and Flora’s Big Party’ – an Eden Project book based on The Big Lunch concept to the children, which is about neighbourly get-togethers and how getting to know your neighbours makes people happier.

Commenting on the day Michelle said: “It has been lovely to come along to the event today and see the children having fun and learning about why being active in the community is important.

Not only does Michelle show her support for the campaign  - she’s also a Big Luncher, organising an event in her own street in Glasgow in 2013.

She knows the benefits of living in a chatty community: “I’m lucky to have so many good friends on my doorstep and I have the best neighbour anyone could wish for.  He’s one of the reasons that I haven’t moved.  We pop in to see each other for a cuppa and a catch up every few weeks or so, he’s a fantastic friend and we help each other out.  That feeling of community is invaluable to me, it means you’re never lonely and you always feel safe.”


If you want to get to know your own neighbours better this year, don’t forget there’s still time to request a free Big Lunch pack from!


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Celebrities, News, Scotland, Spreading the word
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Love thy neighbour

April 8, 2014
Author: Gwion Thorpe
Derek's Big Lunch

Derek’s Big Lunch

Last weekend Wales’ favourite weatherman Derek Brockway was joined by hundreds of passers-by as he hosted a Big Lunch in Cardiff City Centre.  The event marked the launch of our Wales-wide research into small talk habits, which revealed that Welsh people seem to be friendlier and chattier than the English and also confirms their obsession with the weather.  The nationwide study of 500 adults across Wales revealed that:

  • 97% of people in Wales are comfortable making small talk with pretty much anyone – compared to just 72% in England.
  • Three quarters (77%) of people consider their neighbour to be a friend
  • The majority of us (54%) talk about the weather more than any other subject when it comes to engaging in small talk
  • Small talk is important – it ‘brightens up people’s day’ (65%); it’s a ‘lifeline’ for those who live alone (68%) and it helps people feel more part of their local community (86%)
  • But almost a fifth of us (17%)  are too busy to make small talk with our neighbours

The Big Lunch ambassador, Derek Brockway said,

“Everyone knows how chatty and weather obsessed us Welsh are so it’s no surprise that so many of us enjoy engaging in small talk and even consider our neighbours to be friends. It’s what makes living in Wales so special, but what really struck me about the results of this research was how important these everyday interactions seem to be to a lot of people and the positive impact they can have. It makes people feel like they matter and are part of their local community”.

Although much of research was positive almost one fifth of people in Wales say they are too busy to engage in small talk with their neighbours and 7% of respondents saying they feel awkward or nervous about engaging in small talk.  Derek commented “Naturally we all lead busy lives so it’s not always easy or convenient to stop and chat but it is important to make time which is why I’m encouraging the people of Wales to join in and host a Big Lunch in their community on Sunday 1st June 2014.  It’s the perfect opportunity to get everyone in your street or community together to share some food and conversation and show just how friendly and community spirited we are here in Wales”.

Lis Duffy and Derek

Lis Duffy and Derek

Lis Duffy from Carmarthen, who held her first Big Lunch last year, joined Derek for his Big Lunch on Saturday and shared her plans for this year.  She said: “We are really looking forward to being involved in The Big Lunch again this year. We have booked the local park for a date in July and our lunch will be a big picnic with many local community groups as possible involved and loads of fun activities even a fundraising firewalk!


“We want to bring the whole neighbourhood together, rejuvenate the local community spirit and encourage people to socialize, network and celebrate all the exciting things that Carmarthen has to offer”.

To get chatting to your neighbours and start planning a Big Lunch in your community request your free pack online or get in touch with one of the team by calling 0845 850 8181 or emailing

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Case Study, Celebrities, Community, Events, News, Wales
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Free Love Food Hate Waste training

April 2, 2014
Author: admin

To ensure that you make the most of the food that’s brought along to your Big Lunch, our good friend Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) is offering FREE training for groups and organisations involved in Big Lunch events. 

ladies standing by juicer

The training will provide tips and advice to make sure that the food enjoyed at your Big Lunch doesn’t get wasted.   The training will also cover hints and tips to reduce your food waste at home and therefore save you money!  The sessions are best suited to those working in the community who are involved in organising Big Lunch events and can help pass the Love Food messages on to those attending as well as in the community afterwards to keep the good work going.

 LFHW will provide:

  • Recipe ideas
  • Storage tips to help keep food fresh on the day
  • Tips and inspiration for using up leftovers and much more!
  • An handy joint resource with The Big Lunch to help you have  a ‘Low Cost, Low Waste Big Lunch’

LFHW can also help take the mystery out of food date labels, portion sizes and general food planning that will help communities and individuals not only save food but also money throughout the year!

If you feel that your group would benefit from the free training and you have space to host a small training session, please contact Love Food Hate Waste for further details referring ‘LFHW Big Lunch Training Session’.

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Community, England, Top tips
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The Gumtree-inspired Big Lunch

April 2, 2014
Author: Gwion Thorpe

Gwion and Boudicca

Boudicca Stretton-Brown, a 27-year old mum-of-three from Splott, Cardiff made national headlines earlier in the year after posting an advert on Gumtree offering to cook a meal every Monday for needy families.

We’re really pleased that Boudicca is now planning her street’s first ever Big Lunch in order to build on the interest that her initial idea sparked within the local community.  She said: “Since I started running ‘One Meal at a Time’ (a cookery service to help out local families struggling to prepare a nutritious home-cooked meal for their family) I realised just how important community spirit actually is and so I’m really excited about being involved in The Big Lunch this year”.

“I’m hoping that my Big Lunch will not only boost what’s already a really strong community spirit in Splott, but also encourage even more people to get to know their neighbours and offer help and support where they might need it”.

“Some people aren’t always in a position to be able to rely on friends and family and that’s where neighbours come in and events like this put a face to a house number, reminding our neighbours there’s a welcome behind the door.”

Joining Boudicca at The Big Lunch will be neighbor Donna Hobbs and her 13-year-old son, George, for whom she cooks around twice a week.  Boudicca added: “I’m inviting my neighbours, colleagues and the families I cook for to come along, enjoy some home-cooked food and have a good old knees-up, while making new friends.”

What an amazing story!  If you live in Splott and want to join Boudicca’s Big Lunch you can find more information on the event’s Facebook page.  We wish Boudicca and her friends all the best for a great day!

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Case Study, Community, Stories, Wales
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Join Derek’s Big Lunch / Cinio Mawr Derek

April 2, 2014
Author: Gwion Thorpe
Join Derek for small talk and a Big Lunch

Join Derek for small talk and a Big Lunch

Come and join Wales’ favourite weatherman, Derek Brockway  as he hosts a free Big Lunch street party in Cardiff this Saturday

Derek is inviting you to attend his Big Lunch as he launches new research into small talk habits in Wales, which shows that the Welsh are friendlier and chattier than their neighbours across the border and, unsurprisingly, the weather is the favourite topic of conversation!

Come and join Derek  for some small talk, free food and lots of fun this Saturday from 11pm in The Hayes, Cardiff.

When: Saturday 5 April, 11am – 2pm

Where: The Hayes, Cardiff (outside central library/John Lewis)



Dewch i ymuno a dyn tywydd mwyaf poblogaidd Cymru, Derek Brockway, am Cinio Mawr am ddim yng nghanol Caerdydd y dydd Sadwrn yma.  Bydd Derek hefyd yn lawnsio ymchwil newydd sydd yn dangos bod pobl Cymru yn fwy gyfeillgar a siaradus nac ein cymdogion ar draws y ffin, ac mae’r tywydd yw ein hoff pwnc sgwrsio!

Ymunwch a Derek am sgwrs, rhywbeth neis i’w fwyta a llawer o hwyl a sbri!

Pryd: Dydd Sadwrn 5 Ebrill, 11yb – 2yp

Ble: Yr Hayes , Caerdydd (tu allan I’r llyfrgell canolog a John Lewis)

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Events, Spreading the word, Wales
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