The Eden Project
The Big Lunch - an Eden Project

Partnered by

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


Take The Big Lunch Quiz – Which Social Animal are You?

April 17, 2015
Author: Laura Mitchell

Everyone’s different when it comes to social interaction; some of us need more and some less but do you know how much you need?

We’re calling on our Big Lunchers to identify which personality type they fit into with our Social Animals quiz!

polar bear albatross dolphin and bumble bee

Devised by The Big Lunch with help from Dr Rebecca Harris, our quiz helps you determine the level of social interaction you need and find ways to make sure you’re getting enough. As Dr Harris explains, “With around two thirds of UK adults not meeting their desired need for social interaction, it’s useful for people to be able to identify what their optimum level of social interaction is and find ways to meet that need so they can reduce their experience of loneliness.” You can read more about the research here.

Just like your 5 a day fruit and veg, knowing how much interaction you need is important so go on, find out where you fit!


Want to share your results? Let us know using #socialanimals and #besocial

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More than two thirds of adults in the UK experience loneliness

April 17, 2015
Author: Lorna Whitton

This month we commissioned a piece of research to assess the changing face of social interaction in the UK. Working with psychologist, Dr Rebecca Harris from the University of Bolton, we have found that more than two thirds of adults in the UK experience some level of loneliness.

What we found?


  • Loneliness is significantly higher in 18 to 34-year olds, with 83% saying they have experienced loneliness


  • UK adults interact with only six friends , family members or neighbours in a typical week


  • 33% admit they find it harder to make new friends than they did 10 years ago


  • 28% wish they had more friends


  • On average, women spend 10 minutes a day longer interacting with others than men

infographic on loneliness

The results show that loneliness can be found anywhere! As the founder of ChildLine and The Silver Line helplines, Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, states, ‘”This survey highlights how loneliness affects both young people and older generation. The Big Lunch gives us all a chance to reach out to our neighbours and have fun together.”


What social animal are you?

As a result of this survey, Dr Harris and ourselves have identified ‘The Four Personalities of Social Interaction’ that enables people to see how much social interaction they may need, as well as helping them to find opportunities to connect with others.

We have made it easy for you to find out what category of social interaction you fall into with our fun social animals quiz!

Are you a dolphin, bumble bee, albatross or polar bear? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook!


Get Involved

All this research means that there is an even more important reason to get involved with hosting a Big Lunch! You could help bring people in your neighbourhood closer together on Sunday 7 June!

This year we’d like to see one in 10 people in the UK getting involved with The Big Lunch and having lots of fun! – as that’s what’s most important after all!

Community, Friends, Planning, Spreading the word, Stories
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Get your pack now to win a fantastic family break at the Eden Project in Cornwall

April 15, 2015
Author: Fay

To mark the 7th annual Big Lunch on Sunday 7th June and to thank those taking part this year, we’re offering a family of four a trip to the birth place of The Big Lunch, the spectacular Eden Project in Cornwall. Described by many as the 8th Wonder of the World, Eden is home to the World’s largest conservatories, the biggest rainforest in captivity, stunning architecture, more than 1 million plants, and fabulous, fun educational events and exhibits. A must-see attraction!

And this summer for the school holidays our fabulous Dinosaur programme is back. Last year we unleashed them – this year they’re taking over!  Come and see these magnificent creatures up close and personal.

Dinosaur at the Eden Project

Where you’ll stay…

YHA Eden Project is the most convenient and unique place to stay for your visit to Eden. It accommodates up to 228 guests in 58 modern en-suite bedrooms made from shipping containers, in keeping with our ethos of sustainability. These comfortable rooms are equipped with all the conveniences you expect from YHA and much more, including TVs in each room and full air conditioning, making them a fantastic base for your holiday in Cornwall. With their clever use of space and high specification bathrooms, the rooms are perfect for families. Take a sneak peek.

Eden Project Snoozebox hotel room

And for the daredevils in your family…

A free go on Eden’s thrill rides! Fly like a hero and take an adrenaline-fuelled headfirst ride in the ‘superman’ harness. Eden’s zip wire is the longest in England at 660m and now it’s definitely the fastest; with some of the pilots going at 60mph! You will also get the chance to try the latest extreme thrill ride at Eden; Gravity: the giant swing! Suspended more than 65ft in the air above a cliff edge, the swing plummets in a breath-taking 50mph free fall back down towards the Earth! Some restrictions apply for both rides so please check their full list of restrictions to avoid disappointment!

Giant Swing

How to enter…

To enter, you simply need to request a Big Lunch 2015 pack and complete this competition entry form.

If you’ve already got a Big Lunch 2015 pack, you don’t need to order another – we’ve got you in our system so you just need to complete the competition form here. The winner will then have until Friday 12th June to provide a selection of date options they could claim their Eden prize.  Please make sure you read the full terms and conditions below.

The prize consists of the following, for a family of four (two adults and two children):

  • A two-night stay in a Snoozebox at YHA Eden Project
  • A two-day admission to the Eden Project
  • SkyWire flights


FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS – Win a family break to Eden!

    1. Entry is free and NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. One entry per household.
    2. No bulk, third party or organised group entries will be accepted. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the promotion. Automated entries will not be accepted.
    3. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday 5th June only and include a full name, valid UK address, email address and phone number
    4. The prize is two consecutive nights’ accommodation for a family of four (two adults and two children) in a Snoozebox at YHA Eden Project, with two consecutive days’ admission to the Eden Project and SkyWire flights included
    5. The prize must be before 2nd September 2015 and is subject to availability at the time of booking
    6. No alternative prize will be offered and there is no cash alternative. The prize is non-transferable and non-refundable
    7. The draw will be independently witnessed and the first name drawn at random after the closing date will receive the prize as detailed above. If the winner cannot be reached the Eden Project reserves the right to award the prize to a reserve winner drawn at random
    8. The draw is not open to employees of The Eden Project, YHA or Hangloose, their families, agents or anyone professionally connected with the prize draw
    9. All entries must be received by 5pm on Friday 5th June 2015. The winner will be notified by email or phone after the closing date
    10. By entering this competition you are giving the Eden Project and YHA permission to contact you at a future date.
    11. Prize draw open to all UK residents who have requested a 2015 Big Lunch pack. Entrants must be 18 years of age or over
    12. Entries not complying with these terms and conditions or which provide insufficient information on the online entry form will not be accepted by the Promoter
    13. By entering all participants will be deemed to have accepted and be bound by these Terms and Conditions
    14. The Promoter reserves the right to hold, void, cancel, suspend or amend the competition or terms and conditions where it becomes necessary to do so
    15. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for entries that are not received for any reason
    16. The Promoter’s decision on any aspect of the competition is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
    17. The Promoter is The Eden Project.



Competitions, Friends, News, Spreading the word
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5 tips to get your Big Lunch on track

April 13, 2015
Author: Lorna Whitton

Spring has arrived and there’s no better time to start planning a Big Lunch to embrace that sunny weather and share a day outdoors with friends, new and old!

To ensure your day runs smoothly, here is a list of 5 essential things for successful planning!


Choose a venue

First thing to do is make sure you’ve got a spot to host your Big Lunch. Perhaps somewhere central for all your guests would be best. Big Lunches don’t necessarily have to be held on a street, they could be hosted in a park, community centre or any other communal space you can think of! The only thing to consider is permission; if it’s on a street, a road closure notice will be needed and getting in touch with your council to chat about this is the first step. You can find more advice here.


Spread the word

We all know that people are the key ingredient for any good party! So, once you have your venue and date confirmed, start inviting all the people in your neighbourhood. This might be by putting invites through peoples doors, or putting up posters in central areas of your neighbourhood. Also remember the power of word of mouth, make sure you tell everyone you know; shopkeepers, post-men and anyone else you encounter! Remember to ask people to try to confirm whether they will be coming, this means you can plan better for the amount of food, drink, chairs and tables needed.



Food is key

A Big Lunch wouldn’t be a what it is without some nibbles! The most efficient way to provide food is for everyone to bring a dish. This also means that there will always be a delicious mix of food on offer for everyone to try! Get people to fill in what they will be bringing on a form posted in a central area – that way others can see what is being brought and plan there’s to ensure there is a  good array of sweet and savoury! Also, having a rough time for the actual lunch is a good idea.



Activities or entertainment?

It might not be necessary in your neighbourhood, but a bit of extra entertainment will always go down well! This is when it is good to tap into local people’s interests or talents, maybe someone is in a band? Or, has some garden games they’d like to bring along?


Logistical things to remember

We live in the UK, so make sure you have a wet weather plan – could some people use their homes as communal spaces for the day? Or is there a local hall that could be used? Having a Plan B means you will feel prepared for any changes that happen on the day.


Got any tips that have helped you run a successful Big Lunch? Do let us know: or call 0845 850 81 81

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How to, Ideas, Planning, Top tips

For The Love Of…Our communities

April 9, 2015
Author: Trudi Holden

As an Eden Project initiative, The Big Lunch is passionate about people and places.  The idea was seeded in 2009 with the aim to create stronger, more sustainable communities, simply by connecting us to the skills and resources existing locally. 

It’s about recognising the power of collective action; where people coming together for a couple of hours of fun, leads to the sharing of ideas, resources and skills. We like to call this human warming, and over the last 7 years, millions of people have come together to create it!

The Big Lunch - taking place at Temple Gardens in the centre of Llandrindod Wells in Powys.

This year, global leaders will sign new agreements on climate change and sustainable development – agreements that will help to shape our future communities. Unless politicians know this is something we all care about, they won’t have the mandate to act.

So this month, we’re teaming up with The Climate Coalition on their For The Love Of… campaign, to find out what people love about their communities and wish to protect from the effects of climate change.

Maybe you love the wild hedgerows surrounding your neighbourhood, or a historical building which form the basis of community get-togethers. Or perhaps it’s the friendships made at one of your Big Lunch events, which have led to a feeling of community spirit? Whatever you love about where you live, we want to hear about it!

Show the love

downloadFrom the 17th-19th April we are running the For The Love Of… our communities campaign; dedicated to sharing stories and photos of what people across the UK love about their neighbourhoods, and what they want to protect from the affects of climate change.

And we need YOU to get involved!


Just follow these three simple steps:

  1. Over the weekend, share an image of the thing you love about your community, on Facebook or Twitter, using the #biglunch and #fortheloveof hashtags.
  2. Get your FREE Big Lunch pack to show the love in your neighbourhood and create some human warming where you live!
  3. Visit and find out how you can get involved this summer


All of the images shared over the weekend will be compiled and displayed on The Big Lunch and Climate Coalition websites.


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Getting to know your neighbours is good for your health: Five ways to make the first move

April 8, 2015
Author: Lorna Whitton

This blog first appeared on Huffington Post UK on 7 April 2015

Sir Tim Smit KBE, Executive Vice Chairman and Co-Founder, the Eden Project


With a well-known Australian soap turning 30 recently, I wonder how many people in the UK can truly say that their neighbours have become good friends. The fictional residents of Ramsay Street might be actively involved in the lives of the people around them but many real world communities are not quite so close-knit.

I’m always interested in how people connect with one another. So it worries me that, in some UK villages, towns and cities, getting to know our neighbours seems to have fallen out of fashion. It should, in fact, be a priority. ONS figures show that we live in one of the loneliest countries in Europe. Loneliness is as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to a study by Brigham Young University. Face-to-face contact can make us healthier and happier, says journalist and psychologist Susan Pinker.

Older people and people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness – you might have seen Age UK’s campaign with the powerful strapline ‘No one should have no one’ or the ‘We all need friends’ initiative by the charity Sense – but it’s important to remember that anyone can be affected at any time.

Here at the Eden Project, we run an initiative called The Big Lunch, the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours. Our research shows that over a third of people would feel happier if they knew their neighbours better and that getting together with local people for a bite to eat has a number of positive effects. Nine out of 10 people say holding a Big Lunch helps build a sense of community and 84% say it makes them feel better about their neighbourhood.

As Lara, who volunteered to organise a Big Lunch in Edinburgh last year, says: “Once you’ve chatted to someone over cake, what you’ve actually done, without noticing it, is broken down some imaginary barriers.”

With some experts predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future, isn’t it time we connected with the people on our own doorstep?


Five ways to get to know your neighbours better


1. Turn small talk into big talk 

It only takes a simple hello and a comment about the weather to kick things off. So, next time you see your neighbour, take a minute to ask how they are. You could soon be chatting like old friends.

2. Lend a helping hand 

Taking in a delivery (no queuing at the post office – thank you, lovely neighbour!), watering their plants when they are on holiday, lending them some milk when they have a cereal emergency… it doesn’t take much to be a helpful neighbour.

3. Share time (and cake)  

Why not organise a get-together for your whole street? That way, everyone gets to meet up at the same time and enjoy a few hours bonding over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Go big with a street party or just invite your nearest neighbours to a barbecue at home.

4. Discover a common interest 

Find out about your neighbours’ hobbies and interests and arrange to do them together. You could set up a gardening society, a book club or an art group, for example. Who knows… maybe you and the people at number 11 are kindred spirits.

5. Get involved in Neighbourhood Watch   

Crime and anti-social behaviour are common concerns for many communities. Find out if your street is part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme – if not, why not start one yourself?

Swindon resized for HuffPost

If you’d like to take part in The Big Lunch by hosting a street party or community event on Sunday 7 June 2015, you can sign up for a free planning pack at The Big Lunch is led by the Eden Project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and supported by Halifax and Asda.

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Community, Sharing, Spreading the word
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Digital tools for easy Big Lunch planning

March 27, 2015
Author: Trudi Holden

We always say that a Big Lunch doesn’t have to involve lots of time or money, if everyone mucks in to help and brings something along; whether that’s a dish to share or a chair to sit on! But even the most experienced Big Lunchers need a helping hand, to help make the day less work and more play! So as thousands of you get knee deep in Big Lunch planning for this June, our friends at Community How To have shared a few of their favourite digital tools to make organising your event even easier:

free resources for the big lunch


1. Mindjet

To get started you’ll need to brainstorm ideas for your Big Lunch – do you want it to be themed? What food do you want people to bring? Where will you hold it?

Mindjet is a brilliant digital tool which allows you to generate ideas, organise information, and manage projects and tasks. It’s great for capturing your communities’ best ideas and tracking your progress on one easy-to-use interface.


2. VolunteerSpot

Throw away those sign-up sheets because VolunteerSpot will make your life much, much easier.

Organising a Big Lunch on your own isn’t much fun, and many hands always make for light work. This tool is perfect for inviting people in your local community to get involved and keeping them up to date on progress.

VolunteerSpot lets you plan events in an online calendar and invite volunteers to sign up from their computer or smartphone – it even comes with automatic reminders that help volunteers to turn up on the right day at the right time!


3. Social Media

Once your Big Lunch is all organised, you’ll need to make sure everyone knows it’s happening.

The best way to publicise your event is by putting it online. Whether you’re a Facebook fan or a tweeter on Twitter, promoting your event through social media is very easy to do and it works in real time, so when you post about your event it’ll show up immediately for the whole world to see.

On Facebook you can create an event page and invite people (and ask them to invite their friends…) to make sure as many people know about it as possible. You can also use hashtags to label your event and gain publicity – though this one is mostly suited to Twitter!

The Big Lunch free pack

4. Big Lunch Resources

And last but certainly not least, there are lots of free Resources available on The Big Lunch website! From personalisable posters and invitations, to risk assessment guidance and ideas for cutting waste; there’s everything you need to make Lunching as simply and fun as possible.

Check out the Ideas and Downloadable Resources sections at to help inspire your Big Lunch plans.


More Resources available:

Created by The Tinder Foundation in 2012, Community How To enables community organisations to find digital tools to help them do more of what they do best, and help them share their ideas and experience with others. Anyone can register for free on the site to add their favourite tools, case studies and views, leave comments, join discussions with peers and gain access to even more great free resources.

There are so many great digital tools that can help you organise your Big Lunch – have a look at to see which ones can make your planning easier.






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Community, Friends, How to, Ideas, Planning, Top tips
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“My Brilliant Moment”

March 24, 2015
Author: Gwion Thorpe

I recently recorded a short film for the Community Channel as part of their “My Brilliant Moment” series, which is part of the wider and wonderful Do Something Brilliant campaign.  Watch me explain a little bit more about why I do what I do and, most importantly, what The Big Lunch means to me and why everyone should get involved.



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Spreading the word, Video, Wales, Wales Case Study
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Do you live in Wales’ friendliest street?

March 23, 2015
Author: Gwion Thorpe

To mark the launch of The Big Lunch in Wales this year we have teamed up with Media Wales to find the the friendliest streets in the South Wales Valleys - the place that boasts the happiest postcode, the most helpful neighbours and the most cheerful community!


We’re searching for a street that can show the country what being a good neighbour is all about.  We’re hoping that finding the friendliest street in each area will remind us just how important it is to have good neighbours and how much easier life is when you know and get along with the people who live around you.


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News, Spreading the word, Stories, Wales, Wales Case Study
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‘Crime cannot flourish in a community that cares’

March 20, 2015
Author: Gwion Thorpe

As you know, The Big Lunch has a very simple and unchanging aim – to encourage people to get together with their neighbours on one day a year for a few hours of community, friendship and fun.  That “fun” bit is hugely important and is why millions of you take part year after year, but there is also a more serious and long-term intention to The Big Lunch, which, in a nutshell, is about helping to build stronger, safer communities.

That’s why I’m really pleased that Police forces across Wales are supporting The Big Lunch this year, alongside our friends at Neighbourhood & Home Watch, to help and encourage more people to hold Big Lunches in their area and to start making those all-important connections.  I was at the Dyfed Powys Police HQ yesterday where I saw the words “crime cannot flourish in a community that cares”.  It might sound a bit cheesy but it’s true!  85% of Big Lunchers in 2014 said they felt safer in their neighbourhoods after getting to know their neighbours better at a Big Lunch.  Last year, we also shared some great stories about how The Big Lunch and Neighbourhood Watch go hand in hand.



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