Nestled at the heart of the beautiful nine green Glens of Antrim, on the rugged Northern Irish causeway coast line, lies the scenic village of Cushendall. Every August since 1990 the village hosts a successful 9 day community festival providing lively entertainment for young and old.
Cushendall Heart of the Glens festival has become so successful people book their holidays around it. With everything from country sports and vintage farming displays, fireworks and food festival to Lurig mountain run and dollywood themed street party this event has it all; but how hard is it to organise an event like this?
The event has a dedicated festival committee who meet monthly throughout the year to plan and deliver a successful programme suitable for all ages. Their work often goes unnoticed and yet the event would not exist without them.
The festival relies on the generosity of the people contributing to the two collections carried out during the week along with sponsorship money donated by the business people of the community and occasionally there is the opportunity for funding for some specific events. Stewards are invaluable to the smooth running of the events. The organisers have a number of regular stewards but are always on the look out for volunteers.
One local mother said: “I love festival week, it’s a chance to say hello to people you haven’t seen for ages and it’s lovely to have so much to do when the schools are off, but its also been great to take part in The Big Lunch. Our street joined for the first time this year it was a great chance to get together, relax and have a good chin wag, we loved it so much we are doing it again this August.”
While arranging childcare during the summer can be a bit tricky we think it is the perfect time to strengthen community spirit. Why not build on the bonds you made with neighbours at your Big Lunch? Here are a few ideas we thought you and your neighbours might want to try…
If you can get down to the Eden Project this summer there is more than enough to entertain your family.
Once you’ve explored all of Eden’s nooks and crannies, the biomes and learnt all there is to learn about plants, sustainability and the environment, get your kids to have a go at rock climbing, storytelling, a Festival of Play with circus skills, craft workshops or Punjabi drum and dance performances and workshops.
Visit the Eden Project’s what’s on calendar to find something to suit your family.
We hope you have a great summer with your neightbours!
The project includes a series of events taking place in East Anglia over the summer and will culminate in the making of a special film for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The organisers are inviting residents in the East of England to join them for a giant communal feast and the opportunity to star in the film!
In true Big Lunch style, hundreds of people from across the region will come together to share food and company. Participants are invited to create their favourite recipe from the On Landguard Point Cookbook and bring it to the feast for others to enjoy and to feature in the film.
Date: 31st July 2011
Location: Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket
Find out more about this event
Three Scottish charities have been voted through to the the finals of The National Lottery Awards 2011. The awards are held annually and give the UK public a chance to vote for favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Here we profile the three Scottish charities who won enough votes from the public to beat off competition from all around the UK.
The Dean and Cauvin Trust, is one of Edinburgh’s oldest charities. It was established in 1733 by merchants in the city to help rescue children and young people from a life of destitution on the streets. The trust runs the Lottery-funded Aftercare Service, which helps young people secure and set up a home, access education and training, as well as develop the crucial skills required to successfully manage a tenancy.
Sense Scotland, works with more than 1,000 deafblind and disabled children, adults and families throughout Scotland. In 1977, a small group of parents of deafblind children came together to offer mutual support and to work towards the development of service. They are a leader in the field for providing communication and innovative support services or people who are marginalised because of challenging behaviour, health care issues and the complexity of their support needs.
Windmills Cafe is a warm, friendly community café in Motherwell, which provides practical training for young adults with learning disabilities in a working cafe environment. The young people are encouraged to develop existing skills and learn newones in order that they may eventually enter meaningful employment. The team prepare a broad range of freshly prepared snacks, home-made soups and delicious home baking.
The projects are each competing in separate categories for the chance to receive national recognition at a star-studded event later this year, which will be broadcast on BBC One. The category winners will also receive a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project. For more information on the Awards finalists visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards
Volunteer Centre East Dunbartonshire’s Befrienders held a loch-side Big Lunch in June as part of a day trip out to Luss for their Befriendees. Luss is in Loch Lomond, the largest lake or loch in Great Britain covering a surface area of 27 square miles and offering stunning scenery to its many visitors.
The Befriending Service is part of the Volunteer Centre East Dunbartonshire (VCED), based in Kirkintilloch and covers all of East Dunbartonshire. ‘Befrienders’ has been running for over 12 years and trains volunteers called Befrienders to be matched with Befriendees. They provide social, friendly contact for those experiencing difficulties in maintaining their independence and contact with their local community due to ageing, disability, bereavement and mental or physical ill health.
‘Befrienders’ aim to make the best match between Befrienders and Befriendees, for example by matching shared interests. This approach helps to forge long lasting and beneficial relationships and, as a result, the service has just celebrated a 10- year-long befriending relationship between a volunteer and Befriendee.
The service also offers telephone and letter-writing befriending options for those whose needs are better matched by this.
If you are a reliable, respectful person who is accepting of other people and think you might have some time to dedicate to befriending, then VCED’s next training opportunities start week beginning 18 July, running for four weeks, with further training planned in October.
Anyone who wants to find out more about the scheme or just wanting a chat about befriending can call Beverley Lockhart on 0141 578 6680 or email email@example.com
The Big Lunch is proud to be supporting this year’s national Love Parks Week, which takes place between Saturday 23rd July and Sunday 31st July. Celebrating Love Parks Week’s fifth birthday, organisers GreenSpace aim to double their numbers by gathering one million people into parks and green spaces across the country. Love Parks Week is about showcasing the benefits of spending time outdoors in our parks and green spaces, which are such valuable, but often forgotten assets.
A staggering 91% of people believe that public parks and open spaces improve their quality of life. By holding an event in a park or by simply attending one, you will be helping to drive the message that parks and green spaces are essential to healthy, happy and strong communities.
The Love Parks Week website www.loveparksweek.org.uk provides event organisers with helpful toolkits and promotional materials. You’ll also find an interactive map for you to search events across the country.
If you enjoyed your Big Lunch, why not get out and enjoy your local park or green space for Love Parks Week? Fingers crossed there’ll be some sunshine where you are!
Govanhill Baths Community Trust in Glasgow recently held a Big Lunch to celebrate the end of Refugee Week and to commemorate 10 years of community activity to reopen the Swimming Baths at the heart of the community.
With an estimated 42 different nationalities living within the square mile of Govanhill, Refugee Week proved the perfect time to hold a Big Lunch to celebrate this diversity. Food, dance, music and stories from around the world helped bring colour and international flavours to the Southside of Glasgow with an estimated 500 revellers joining in the fun.
Govanhill Baths Community Trust has been working for ten years to reopen the former swimming baths and wash house on Calder Street. Its goal is to turn the Georgian building into a Wellbeing Centre and at the same time contribute to the wider social and cultural development of Govanhill as a community through a range of activities.
The Wellbeing Centre would seek to promote the health of individuals and the community, by approaching the issue of health from a wider community perspective. This is approach is based on evidence which shows how physical and mental wellbeing can be affected and influenced by the environment and community in which people live.
The centre itself will not only preserve the two main pools in the building but also provide green space for the community in the form a roof-top garden, promote healthy eating with a community café and offer dedicated spaces for community events.
Anyone wishing to find out more about the work and plans of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust can visit their website: www.govanhillbaths.com
Northern Irish eyes are smiling because last week the Big Lottery Fund awarded four Lottery grants totalling nearly £240,000 to community projects that can now go on to inspire people to get more involved in their local area.
Community projects from all over Northern Ireland were encouraged to compete for the funding. UTV regional news featured the finalists and the public voted to decide which great cause received People’s Millions funding.
The successful Northern Ireland community projects are:
Highest runner up:
Take a look at a short film created by the Big Lottery Fund which shows parents, staff and pupils from Holy Child Primary School in west Belfast celebrating winning £60k from this year’s People’s Millions competition in Northern Ireland.For the successful projects there is a great sense of community joy and celebration as they kick start project delivery. Indeed they have plenty of reason to join The Big Lunch, June 2012 celebrating the progress they will have made with their ventures.
Greenlight Gateway joined The Big Lunch during their campaign and are excited about the journey ahead. Greenlight Gateway realised the benefits of mobilising the whole community to support their project so they were quick to understand how holding a simple event like The Big Lunch gives everyone a reason to come together and develop new friendships and stronger more sustainable communites. We hope to catch up with all the competitors to share their story and talk about how they too can join in and mobilise local people’s community spirit.
Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund Northern Ireland Chair, said: “The competition in the People’s Million’s in Northern Ireland has been really strong this year, and we’ve been so impressed with the strength of community spirit shown, with people getting behind their local project. I look forward to seeing these projects and the difference they will make in their communities when they open in 2012.”
Visit The People’s Millions and Jubilee People’s Millions website to find out the results in your local region.
The Big Lottery Fund in partnership with ITV, awarded 60 Lottery grants totalling £3.6 million to community projects across the UK marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Another fantastic reason to have a Big Lunch on the Jubilee weekend 3 June 2012!
Are you are involved in any of the community initiatives who competed for funding? We’d love to hear your story. Help us encourage those involved to join The Big Lunch and celebrate their local community with millions across the UK. In our next blog we’ll take a look at the Northern Ireland result and share with you some of the highlights.
Since 2005 The Big Lottery Fund and ITV have been giving viewers the good cause chequebook to decide how Lottery cash is spent. Each year the shortlisted projects feature on ITV regional news and the public vote to decide which great cause gets the funding.
This year four projects in each of the 15 ITV regional news areas were awarded grants of £20-£60k for new activities to involve, inspire and improve local communities.
Take a look at The People’s Millions and Jubilee People’s Millions website to see the results in your local region.