Big Lunch organisers and supporters from across Northern Ireland got together on Saturday 24th 2011 sharing ideas and stories, celebrating success in 2011 and looking ahead to encourage more activity in 2012.
The special get together was held at Big Lunch ambassador chef Michael Deane’s restaurant in Belfast and we were delighted to be joined by BBC Northern Ireland reporter and presenter Sarah Travers who helped launch The Big Lunch in Northern Ireland and has provided ongoing support to the campaign.
Grainne Mc Closkey- Northern Ireland campaigner, said: “We launched The Big Lunch locally in Northern Ireland for the first time this year and we had 375 registered events where previously we had evidence of very few. I’m lucky to have befriended several of the organisers and thought it would be great for them to get together, connect and share their experiences. The vibe in the room was so positive and everyone seemed up for taking part next year and encouraging more people near them to join in too.”
“The Big Lunch is a one day get together for neighbours and local communities, it’s a simple initiative funded by Big Lottery and sponsored by Mastercard, EDF and Kingsmill. It’s designed to help people connect with those living near them. Unfortunately with higher costs of living and modern times, not all of us are lucky enough to know our neighbours anymore. By joining The Big Lunch, people across Northern Ireland are celebrating their strong communities and in some cases reviving community spirit that just needed a helping hand. The Big Lunch is lots of fun but at the end of the day something good has always come of it. People find babysitters, meet the people at the end of the street and get a chance to talk to them, it offers old and young an opportunity to come together and reduces loneliness.
People share ideas and local knowledge and history and have been known to start neighbourhood watches and book clubs or get a helping hand when its needed. Its a really cost effective way of building more sustainable communities. Good neighbours are hugely important in life and a Big Lunch can help the people on your street and in your area reach out and build new lasting friendships.”
Chris Willamson, CEO of NIFHA – Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations attended and said:
“I believe Trinity Housing joined in and helped promote this initiative and I would encourage other local housing associations to do so for three reasons. Number one, getting to know your neighbours is a great way of improving community safety. Secondly associations are all about creating sustainable communities in which people are happy to live and thirdly it’s good fun.”
Looking forward to next year everyone was called to action to help The Big Lunch reach more neighbourhoods and many offered to do what they could within their social circles to promote the idea and encourage wider participation in 2012. Some even volunteered to attend events, be interviewed and share their ideas at work and with groups and organisations they belong to.
With the help of Champions right across the UK, we hope to make The Big Lunch 2012 the biggest yet, and here’s to many more lunches in Northern Ireland!
If you are interested in becoming a Big Lunch Champion Please contact Kate Groves email@example.com
Photos from the event are available to download at http://flic.kr/s/aHsjwaVthR
Last Sunday saw people from all over the lovely town of Todmorden coming together for an afternoon of fun and food at the Incredible Edible Harvest Festival.
It was a celebration of the fantastic work of Incredible Edible - an organisation that aims to provide access to good, locally grown food to all through its work with communities, farms, local businesses and schools.
The project was founded by Mary Clear and Pam Warhurst and is managed by a dedicated group of volunteers, that came together to celebrate their hard work and achievements last weekend.�
Posting on Pennine Life, Lilian Barton explained what it was about:
“People of Todmorden are growing stuff at the edges of buildings, abandoned bits of land, road side verges, a graveyard, plots at the local health centre in fact anywhere they can.”
“Although one must say the wonders that are appearing in Todmorden are all done by sheer hard work and passion by local heroes who are committed to doing things differently in the face of a changing environment.”
Like The Big Lunch, Incredible Edible started as a very simple idea; to encourage people to grow stuff on council land. But now, three years on, it’s grown at an incredible rate, and inspired people right across the UK and as far afield as Slovakia to set up similar projects.
The organisers of the Edithna Street Big Lunch in Lambeth are one such inspired group who came together earlier this year to set up the Edible Bus Stop - a community growing project in Brixton. It all started with a few neighbours getting together to tend to some neglected land and now it’s hoped that the concept will be rolled out across the capital.
We love hearing about all the great grow-your-own initiatives that are springing up here, there and everywhere, so do get in touch with your stories!
Find out more about Incredible Edible
While many will be experiencing an ‘Indian summer’ this week with temperatures reaching 28c, The Big Lunch team is also very excited about events in store for this autumn, particularly Eden’s Harvest Food Festival starting this weekend!
Eden is cooking up a nine-day festival of food, drink, dance and merriment this autumn as it continues its exciting new culinary adventure.
The project has radically reinvented its approach to food with the recent introduction of the Eden Bakery serving up delicious hand-made breads and pastries and a new café area in the Mediterranean Biome offering Tuscan stews and wine.
From October 1 to 9 it is launching its first Harvest Festival, featuring cooking demonstrations from top chefs, stunning displays of harvest produce, live music and traditional crafts demonstrations.
Among those sharing their culinary secrets will be Michael Smith from the award-winning Porthminster Beach Café in St Ives, Sanjay Kumar, chair of Slow Food Cornwall, and top Malaysian chef Norman Musa from Manchester’s Ning Restaurant and Cookery School. Exotic fruit and veg will be on the menu on the evening of Thursday, October 6, when James Wong, plant expert and presenter of BBC Two’s Grow Your Own Drugs, demonstrates how to grow rare, unusual and luxury foods.
The festival will also include a special appearance from the one of the country’s leading bakers and food writers Dan Lepard who will officially open the Eden Bakery on Monday, October 3.
Throughout the week visitors can taste the juice from Eden’s apple presses, pick up tips on pickling and preserving, discover the stories behind bread, wine and cider and see the processes that take the natural ingredients from the ground to the plate – or glass!
There’ll also be workshops on allotment growing, grape crushing, corn crafts, what to do with fruit and veg gluts, and edible plants of the rainforest.
For full details, click here or ring the box office on 01726 811972.
Remember we told you about the Village SOS competition? Well there’s great news—the deadline has been extended! They’ve extended it to 20 October to give groups more time to work on their enterprising ideas.
The Village SOS competition is giving around 250 villages across the UK a share of £5.3 million to kick start a community business.
The Village SOS Competition will give around 250 awards of between £10,000 and £30,000 to kick start community businesses. They want to support inspiring business ideas that will bring people together in villages across the UK and support activities and enterprises that will tackle the challenges they face.
Entering the competition is easy – they can even accept entries from informal community groups – so click here to get started.
You must be a Village SOS member to enter the competition, so if you haven’t already, join here.
If you’re not in a village but would like to know how to set up a community enterprise that would benefit your area, or connect with like minded people in your community please go to www.villagesos.org.uk
• For help developing your idea into a sustainable business, give the Big Lottery Fund Village SOS Advice Line a call on 0845 434 9123*.
• For everything you need to know about the Competition, including the conditions, read the Competition Guide
•The Village SOS competition is a Big Lottery Fund programme and will be distributing funds from the National Lottery
Its liftshare Week again and we wanted to remind you of this great initiative. liftshare Week is all about giving car-sharing a try. If you haven’t given it a go before, you haven’t discovered the financial, social, environmental and stress-reducing benefits that come with it!
Sharing your car with three other people quarters the cost of the journey and the typical commuter who car-shares every day saves around £800 a year. Which means the petrol costs you less than 40p a litre. Who doesn’t need that right now?!
What should you do now?
- Join for free, register your journey and find someone to travel with
- Ask your neighbours what route they take to work—you can reconnect after your Big Lunch while sharing the costs and toll of driving
- Talk to parents from your children’s school and see if you can car-share the school run
- Tell your friends / family and colleagues about liftshare with the Tell a Friend facility
- Put a car sticker in your back windscreen! The person in the car behind might well be going your way, but have no idea that they could be sharing with you.
- If your employer doesn’t already have a car-share scheme, encourage them to do more to promote lift-sharing in the work place. It’s been a great success at the Eden Project!
You don’t even need a car to sign up to be a car-sharer. Many members are willing to do the driving in return for a contribution to their fuel costs and some friendly company!
Just join for free at liftshare.com and find someone from your community going your way…
Over the past week The Big Lunch team have been out and about across the UK to promote next year’s event. We’ve been to Ludlow Food Festival, the National Housing Federation Annual Conference in Birmingham and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau Conference in York.
The resounding response at each event was one of great anticipation for The Big Lunch 2012 and its support of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
At Ludlow we perused Wales, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire’s delicious food stalls; from damson gin to British cassis, hog roasts to chutneys of all imaginable flavours, artisan flour to smoked salmon, and not forgetting the abundance of cheese and endless sausages, there was a fantastic presence from local farmers, exhibitors and chefs.
One of our favourite things about the festival was its commitment to local produce—within the main event only food from a 20 mile radius of Ludlow was showcased—and equally to local communities.
At the National Housing Federation conference we got to meet lots of Tenant Participation Officers from housing authorities across the UK, who were all keen to introduce The Big Lunch to their area and re-establish community spirit.
The Citizen’s Advice event was a great opportunity to tap into their big network of bureaus and volunteers. We discussed how holding a Big Lunch could support the work of Citizen’s Advice bureaus in the long term and in addition each of our new Champion schemes developing this year.
We’re really excited about the new contacts and organisations we met with and how we can work together to support communities across the UK. The Big Lunch 2012 is set to be an even bigger and better success!
Our Big Lunch relations in Pope rd flagged this to us and we thought we’d pass the message on to the rest of The Big Lunch family…
Norwood High Street will be closed to motor traffic and in conjunction with Norwood Feast will be celebrating alternative transport. The fun day will also be an opportunity for residents to have a look at designs for local urban realm improvements.
Nip along and see how road space can be better used with music, food and entertainment from 12-5pm.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Suzy Harrison 020 7926 0686.
In order to celebrate European Mobility Week, they are putting on a yearly Car Free Day event in September. European Mobility Week aims to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use across Europe, including the implementation of infrastructure and soft measures to raise awareness. The aim is to put on an event with a sustainable travel theme which leads on to a permanent measure being put in place.
2010 saw the whole of Clapham Old Town being closed to motor traffic and turfed over with real grass. The event ultimately demonstrated how such a space could be used if it is not a bus stand and vehicle gyratory system.
Turf was installed and a bandstand erected with a full programme of live music including a pop choir and a four piece saxophone orchestra. Deckchairs provided seating although many chose to loll on the grass where usually buses stand.
A children’s area brought an element of play with a sand pit and face-painting in amongst palm trees.
Local traders were encouraged to take up a market stall which resulted in an array of stall holders offering everything from jewellery and clothes to jerk chicken and cakes.
Approximately 3000 people attended the event over the 5 hours and were also invited to get involved in a number of workshops including pimp my bike by Neuva Generacion, Clapham pottery and kid’s art.
Lambeth Council worked in partnership with Veolia and FM Conway to make the day possible and the Car Free agenda was reinforced with a number of pay & display installations.
This was based on the idea that a great many things can be done with the space it takes to park one car for the day. Each space was transformed into a beach, a golf course, and even an animal petting zoo provided by Vauxhall City Farm, among others.
Car Free Day was also a perfect opportunity to unveil the latest designs for the Clapham Gateway project, a £3million package of public realm improvements planned for the Old Town area.
The project will see the current bus stand re-located, the eastside carriageway closed to traffic and creation of a new piazza area incorporating public artwork and a “rain garden” sustainable drainage system. Car Free Day in Old Town not only enabled us to get feedback from hundreds of local people, it was also an opportunity to showcase some of the potential activities that could take place in the new piazza area.
The event therefore provided the perfect marriage of consultation opportunity, potential public realm infrastructure and travel awareness event. The resulting piazza will provide an enhanced experience for pedestrians and cyclists whilst improving air quality in the area.
We think Car Free Day is a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing Big Lunch Pope rd, keep your blog ideas coming folks!
This weekend is harvest moon: the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. The time of reaping and celebration of the year’s harvest. Where communities would traditionally come together. Sharing the work, sharing the rewards. Feasting together. Companions, literally people breaking bread together. The bread which they had tilled the soil, for, scattered the seed, joined together to cut in fine weather – to thresh and make bales.
This is the time for bringing the harvest home – physically, spiritually, stocking our larders to see us through the cold, dark months ahead. Though most of us are cut off from the literal harvesting of our food, unless we have a vegetable garden of our own. Our food is disconnected from the farmers. Food is always there, on the shelves. We forget the joy of the harvest. The physical exertion traded for stored calories. The reliance on every member of the community to make it happen. Food is just food, a commodity, easy come, easy go. We don’t need each other any more to survive. We don’t need to celebrate nature’s bounty: it is always there. And so whilst we are rich on easy calories, in money in comparison to those rural farming communities of bygone days. We are poor too if we do not gather together, to feast, to celebrate and give thanks.
It is fitting that this weekend is a weekend of community celebrations here in the place I call home - a tapas evening at a new local cafe, eating with friends; our multi-generational community will eat together at Saturday Pizzas; drinking together to celebrate a friend’s birthday and then a motherblessing, a group of women gathering to celebrate and nurture a pregnant friend about to give birth, with love, massage, mindful connection… and of course food.
Do take the time over the next couple of weeks to celebrate with your companions. Take time to break bread, to raise a toast to each other and the farmers who provided your food, to the sun and the earth. To bring harvest home to you and yours.
This blog was contributed by Big Luncher Lucy Pierce in celebration of The Big Lunch commitment to get more and more communities eating together every June.
Lucy is a published writer and author of Dreaming aloud.
Sunday June 5th saw the first Big Lunch event at Melvin Sports Complex hosted by Strabane District Council. Who loved the idea of connecting up people in their local area with people all over the Uk who would at that same time be having lunch and connecting with people local to them in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.
The theme of the day for Melvin hall Strabane, Co Tyrone was an intergenerational approach to traditional children’s games.
Children from the local Surestart group were joined by ladies from U3A and staff members from Melvin Sports Complex. Together they enjoyed lunch and an afternoon of learning Hopscotch, Skipping, and how to use the Hula Hoop.
U3A is the University of the third age. The Third Age Trust is the national representative body for the Universities of Third Age (U3As) in the UK. U3As are self-help, self-managed lifelong learning co-operatives for older people no longer in full time work, providing opportunities for their members to share learning experiences in a wide range of interest groups and to pursue learning not for qualifications, but for fun. http://www.u3a.org.uk/home.html
One lady from U3A Strabane group said she loved the idea of mixing the generations and the fun of the day was not dampened by the weather. She added that it was great to be able to pass on the “old way to play” to the children.
Sure Start Strabane is about giving children a better start in life so that they will achieve well at school and grow up to be happy. They provide activities that address and meet the social, emotional, physical and educational development of children and their families in the local area. The services are friendly, easily accessible, sensitive to the needs of the local community because it is contributed to by the community itself. The aim is that Sure Start helps parents feel confident and in control of their children’s lives and their own, removing barriers which prevent parents from getting support in caring for and bringing up their children.
Laura Henry one of the Strabane Surestart Mums said that “it’s refreshing to see all the children enjoying themselves without expensive play equipment or computers”.
“We underestimate the fun all generations can have together- we should do this more often”
Strabane District Council are keen to build on the success of this first event and looks forward to planning the 2012 Big Lunch.
We’re delighted to announce that we’re supporting the Fields in Trust’s Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. The Challenge is an exciting project aiming to protect 2,012 outdoor recreational spaces by the end of 2012. This will build a tangible, living legacy for both The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics. Recreational spaces include parks, playing fields, coastal lines, bike trails and playgrounds; anywhere that you can relax and enjoy yourself outdoors.
You can find out if any spaces near you have been put forward for protection by putting your postcode into the search on the Challenge website.
“The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is ambitious but much needed. It will require the support of sporting bodies, local authorities and, most importantly, the British people in local communities up and down the country. I am certain the Fields will bring lasting benefit to countless individual lives.”
The Challenge is a project from Fields in Trust – an organisation that has worked hard to protect over 8500 acres of outdoor play space since 1925.