This year The Big Lunch falls at the same time as Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1st – 7th June every year. It’s a happy coincidence as Volunteers’ Week shares many of our values and goals, and celebrates people who give their time to help make things happen in their communities. Many people won’t even think of themselves as volunteers, but if you have organised or are contributing to a Big Lunch, you’re already a volunteer.
Register your Big Lunch as a volunteers’ week event and you’ll becoming part of both fantastically worthwhile initiatives! From the thousands of weekend coaches, PTA members, campaigners, fundraisers, and carers, to the groups tending their community allotments, all of these people are part of Volunteers’ Week.
If you’ve enjoyed getting together with neighbours to make your Big Lunch happen, you might like to find out about other volunteering opportunities that might be of interest to you.Check out the Volunteers’ Week website http://www.volunteersweek.org.uk/ to find inspiration and events taking place up and down the country.
Need a few extra plates, cups and napkins for your Big Lunch but still want to be eco-friendly? Vegware, the UK’s first and only compostable packaging company, isgiving Big Lunchers a yummy 15% discount on any of their party disposables, so there’s no need to use plastic. Just use the code BL2011 when buying online.
Order by midday on Wednesday 1st June to make sure it all arrives in time for your Big Lunch.
All of Vegware’s plastic-free products are made of annually renewable or recycled materials, such as plant starch, recycled paper or sugar cane fibre. They are compostable, so with the right amount of warmth, moisture and microbes, they can all become compost, biogas or topsoil in as little as six weeks.
Vegware just won Best New Product in the Climate Week Awards for being the UK’s first ever packaging firm whose entire range is suitable for organics recycling together with food waste. Now that landfill is more expensive than recycling, organics recycling is a way to save money and the planet.
All Vegware’s clients put together saved over 110 tonnes of carbon and 100 tonnes of virgin materials by switching to eco packaging, and we are aiming to save over 250 tonnes in 2011. Make your Big Lunch is as green as can be!
Over 300 people joined us at Potters Field Park yesterday, where our long-standing partners MasterCard organised an attempt to create the world’s longest ever picnic table.
Blur bassist Alex James hosted the event where Londoners were invited to enjoy a free lunch at the incredible 90 metre table, which smashed the current world record World Record of 75m! The table was created using 1,230 metres of timber and 3540 screws and weighed 2.75 – the weight of a small whale! It was constructed by a two man team in a workshop near Southampton before final assembly in Potters Field in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
MasterCard built the table to show their ongoing support of The Big Lunch and to help promote this year’s event. It’s now been split into a number of smaller tables and will be distributed to parks and gardens in some of our most supportive London boroughs.
Alex James said: “It’s been really fun getting involved in MasterCard’s Longest Picnic Table project – I’m glad we managed to smash the record! The public loved the event and it really highlighted the importance of spending time getting to know those who live around you to improve community spirit.”
An official from Guinness World Records attended the event to ensure it was a continuous picnic table and check the measurement.
The George Shearing Community Centre in Wandsworth was at the centre of Big Lunch excitement today, as celebrity chefs Antony Worrall Thompson, Levi Roots and award winning musician Jazzie B helped the local residents prepare for their Big Lunch on Sunday 5th June. The excitement doubled as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his trusty Street Party Ambassador Barbara Windsor joined the spectacle to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in The Big Lunch this year. Boris Johnson said:
“Londoners wholeheartadly embraced street parties to celebrate the Royal Wedding so why not make a get-together with your neighbours a more regular event? If you want to bring your local community together and play your part in helping to make our great city a friendlier and safer place, sign up to be part of The Big Lunch.”
Also at the event were representatives from boroughs across the capital, who have signed up to become one of Barbara’s growing brigade of community spirited local ‘Street Party Champions’. They have been doing a great job promoting The Big Lunch in their areas!
With only three weeks until the big day chef Malcom John – our Champion for Croydon - along with the team from Wandsworth’s George Shearing Centre showed us all how it’s done by cooking up some delicious treats on the BBQ.
Today’s success has spread Big Lunch fever even further, so if you haven’t already, join in and start planning your Lunch today!
We’ve teamed up with Landshare again this year to try and encourage all those with green fingers to sow some seeds for their Big Lunch. It’s a great opportunity for like-minded growers to get together in their area and share some delicious home grown produce.
You can use Landshare Groups to find people in your area and promote your event locally. And the first 10 Landshare groups to post their event will receive FREE Big Lunch t-shirts to wear on the day and have their event featured in a Landshare news item! If you want to shout about your Landshare Big Lunch, start your group now!
How to set up your event on Big Lunch and Landshare
To set up your Big Lunch, register your event on the Big Lunch website and receive your FREE starter pack, full of advice and checklists to get your event off to a flying start.
Then, post it in your Landshare group. If you already have a Landshare group or organisation, simply add the event there. If not, it’s easy to create a group for your Big Lunch.
Using Landshare to organise and promote your Big Lunch means:
Grow your own Big Lunch
If you’re just signing up now to create your Big Lunch, it’s not too late to grow some of your own tasty ingredients. Read our Big Lunch growing guide to find out which veggies can be sown now and ready to eat in time for The Big Lunch.
If you want to shout about your Landshare Big Lunch, start your group now!
Tables and chairs, games, lights, jugs, hobs and large pans, ice buckets, music systems, spits and BBQ’s, chocolate fountains, gazebos, heaters .. these are just some of the things you’ll need for your Big Lunch. Most of this stuff is already out there sitting in sheds, collecting dust in cupboards, and languishing in lofts – if only you knew who to ask instead of having to buy new stuff.
Ecomodo.com, an award winning website, can help you find the things you need and borrow them directly from your neighbours, friends and colleagues. As well as everyday objects Ecomodo can help you discover hidden talents in your neighbourhood (such as jugglers, face painters, mixologists, cooking, DJ’s) or spare space (fridge space, oven space) to make your day go with a swing. And making it easy to share, Ecomodo guides you through the entire process of lending and borrowing.
Here’s 5 top tips to help you get equipped for your Big lunch and beyond.
1. Sign up to Ecomodo, create a lending circle for your street or neighbourhood and invite your big lunchers to join in.
2. Inspire people to share by adding some items to lend. From lawnmowers to tents; golf clubs to awnings you can add all sorts for things to lend as well as stuff for your party. Use your lending circle to automatically restrict who can borrow your gear and take deposits or insurance for extra peace of mind.
3. Simply promote your lending circle in your neighbourhood by using Ecomodo’s automated leaflet and poster maker or post a link on your local forum or blog. Marvel at the wealth of possibilities revealed as new people join and add items to lend.
4. Find the things you need for your Big Lunch simply by posting wanted ads. And if can’t find what you’re looking for and end up buying it, then add it to Ecomodo so that others can borrow it in the future.
5. And at the end of your day, when the last sausage roll has gone and the bunting has come down, keep the spirit of your Big Lunch alive all year round, by sharing with your neighbours.
Ask everyone, new friends and old, to join in and add items to lend. Share everything from garden and DIY tools, camping and holiday gear, sports equipment, baby gear, dresses and fashion accessories. In time, your lending circle will grow giving access to the things everyone needs to follow their dreams, pursue their interests and get the boring jobs done more quickly. It can open up a whole new world of possibility for everyone in your neighbourhood.
Sign up to Ecomodo.com and let’s get sharing.
We’re pleased to say that the royal wedding has given a great boost to the number of Big Lunch events planned on Sunday 5th June. Registrations are currently 62 per cent ahead of the figure for the same time last year.
We rode the royal wave as the nation got into the spirit of street party celebrations last week and put the increase in registrations down to the ‘royal wedding effect’.
Our campaign ambassador Lynda Bellingham says: “Street parties are a great way of getting people together and it was fantastic to see so many people across the UK getting together with their neighbours last weekend.
“Our research shows that 70 per cent of people taking part in a Big Lunch last year felt more positive about where they live and 95 per cent still feel closer to their neighbours a year on. The royal wedding helped to bring street party get-togethers to the forefront and now street party fever seems to have gripped the nation. People are realising how much fun these types of events can be and how positive and long lasting the effects of getting to know their neighbours are. As a result, we saw many people registering to host a Big Lunch over the royal wedding weekend with an overall increase of 62 per cent of registrations compared to this time last year.”
If you’ve been gripped by street party fever but didn’t get around to attending a party over the royal wedding weekend or if you can’t wait to the next royal event to host another one, check out the website to order a free street party starter pack containing everything you need to plan your own Big Lunch on Sunday 5th June.