Growing Connections are the latest Northern Irish organisation to support The Big Lunch and are having an Open door Big Lunch at Quarries farm, near Bangor, Co Down, on Saturday 8 September 1:00 – 4:00pm, so dig out your wellies and go along!
Growing Connections (GCNI ) will be supporting the growth of The Big Lunch in Northern Ireland during 2013 and are kick starting with a Big Lunch of their own; encouraging lots of people from the surrounding area to come along to find out more about what they get up to at the farm, dig in and get to know each other better.
Rachael Ludlow-Willams, group leader at GCNI tells us a bit more about their Big Lunch plans…
“Growing Connections is a wonderful community, it’s a place where people can come together to be in a quiet space and relax or meet people and learn new skills. We are all about cultivating friendship, sharing experience and nurturing energy because this in turn encourages social and environmental sustainability, and improves quality of life for all. We like what The Big Lunch is inspiring people to do and we’re keen to play our part.”
“We’re a small organisation so we have given a lot of thought to joining The Big Lunch and I recently tested it out for myself joining forces with a neighbour in my street to host a Big Lunch and now I know the positive impact it can have on an area, if a few people take the time to get everyone to sit down together.
Now we are really looking forward as an organisation to encouraging more people to sit down together and we’re kicking this off by welcoming everyone to Quarries Farm on what we hope to be, the first of many, Open days.”
“At our Big lite Lunch everyone can enjoy some of our delicious homemade vegetable soups, with vegetables sourced from the farm. Or why not try an amazing home baked cake with your tea or coffee! There’s a small charge for food, but its all going to a great cause.”
“Our guided tour of the farm will enable you to see what activities we do and meet the animals. Join in the various art activities taking place around the farm, or get your hands dirty digging out a flowering plant to take home with you.”
“We believe The Big Lunch is a great way to bring the local community to the farm to get a taste of what Growing connections is all about so if you are in the area come and meet the happy hens, shaggy sheep, buzzy bees and prancing ponies and grab a bite to eat.”
Looking to host an event that would bring locals together and break down territorial barriers, PEEK Project (Possibilities for East End Kids) organised a gala day Big Lunch for service users, their families and the wider community in the East End of Glasgow. Senior Play Ranger at PEEK, Ashleigh, told us their Big Lunch story.
“Working here, one of the most under resourced parts of Glasgow, we aim to engage 5-25 year olds, giving them the motivation and skills they need to change their lives. When we heard of the idea, we thought The Big Lunch could be an ideal way to get local families out in the community in a friendly atmosphere.
Now, looking back on the day everyone at PEEK agrees we achieved this and it was an 100% success! There was loads of laughter and everyone had a smile on their face. Parents couldn’t believe it was FREE and were asking for them to take place more often. No one had a care in the world, it really was as if all troubles in the community had been forgotten.
We believe our Big Lunch made an impact not only on the young people who were there, but their parents, guardians and even local businesses who helped out. Staff have noticed how community spirit has since lifted and people have seemed happier when coming into the project.
The organisation has also grown stronger from this day and proven to itself that it can pull off events like this. We’re really hoping we’ll have another Big Lunch in the future.
The community already had respect for the project but this has made their enthusiasm for PEEK ever more apparent.”
Did your charity, project or organisation have a Big Lunch? Let us know- firstname.lastname@example.org
At The Eden Project, from where The Big Lunch is seeded, the experience of walking around the biomes aims to promote messages about being more mindful and understanding our relationship and current dependency on the world’s plants and crops. Coming together on these issues, you can also find an extra exhibition at Eden this summer, with Oxfam volunteers promoting the GROW campaign on-site.
Through GROW, Oxfam is telling the world the global food system is broken; a problem the campaign aims to find solutions for. But in adding up all the contributing factors- climate change, rising food prices, intensive farming and the problem of agricultural land grabs (wealthy companies buying cheap land from struggling farmers in poorer countries, often without consent or compensation) – what becomes clear is that it’s a complex issue.
The GROW campaign outlines the facts: 1 billion people are facing food poverty. That’s one in seven of us going to bed hungry each night. What’s more, 80% of people facing hunger are directly involved in food production, and in a global industry that produces more than enough food to feed everyone too!
Facing these shocking stats, Oxfam is saying we all have a role to play in the solution and is showcasing the people who are fighting against these unfair facts. To start with, we can buy less and start growing our own, tackle food waste by supporting and becoming inspired by the work of organisations such as Love Food Hate Waste and FareShare, and when we do buy, think locally and Fair Trade. It’s all about the choices we make and thinking more about how we buy and eat food.
With our roots at Eden, these are issues also close to The Big Lunch. Though we know how food brings people together, it’s also time to think about getting together over food issues. As GROW promotes, start taking individual action and help your community to use its food power for food justice!
How exciting! We’re delighted that The Big Lunch has been shortlisted for a London Lifestyle Award – for the ‘Outstanding Contribution to London’ category.
4,127 businesses and personalities were put forward for the various awards so we feel very proud to have made the shortlist.
What we did in London this year:
- Gained the support of 30 London councils
- Recruited 33 Big Lunch Champions to support and encourage Big Lunches in their communities
- Supplied 16,670 packs to London Big Lunchers
- 23% of Big Lunches took part in London
- Held launches across the capital including Buckingham Palace, City Hall and Madame Tussauds with Barbara Windsor
- None of the councils charged for road closures
On the day itself exciting Big Lunches took place in all types of communities with events also held at Downing Street, Canada House and Tower of London.
…And some lunches even had special VIP guests. At Piccadilly The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince of Wales dropped by with a cake.
In Fulham and Chelsea two lucky Big Lunches were paid visits by the York Family – Prince Andrew The Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie
What a day!
The public vote is now open so please take a minute to cast your vote by 21st September. Please spread the word and get others to vote too.
You can also let us know if your Big Lunch has been entered to win an award, or if you have nominated a fellow Big Luncher for any awards – we’d love to support your entries.
Big thanks in advance!!
Bringing along a tin and tucking into a buffet, locals enjoyed a Big Lunch held by Ayrshire (East) Foodbank- a branch of the UK network set-up by The Trussell Trust charity which is working to empower local communities to combat poverty and exclusion. With more and more people finding the rising cost of food to be a real struggle, the network is providing help to people facing emergency situations by providing a minimum of three days food and support.
The Ayrshire (East) foodbank is run by branch manager Cheryl. Here she tells us about their Big Lunch…
“We’re thankful to have seen much success and local support since opening our doors in May. Hosting a Big Lunch not long after we opened was a way to spread the word further of the important work we are doing in the community. We offered a free Big Lunch buffet to locals, asking for a donation in return of the type of food being collected across the country such as cereal, UHT milk and tinned goods. A fantastic 161kg of food was collected on the day whilst Big Lunchers enjoyed a fun afternoon too!
Overall, our new branch have received 2600kg of donated food and have fed 123 people within just a few months, which we are very pleased with. We have had a good response from businesses and organisations who do a collection on our behalf but we are always looking for more to have a dropbox in their workplace. The public have just been fantastic and having a Big Lunch was the perfect chance to celebrate this as well as collecting more donations and promoting our branch further in the local area.”
You can find your nearest Foodbank here.
Did your Big Lunch help your local community-let us know! email@example.com.
Suffering from post-Olympic blues? We’re certainly feeling a bit lost here in the London office following all the excitement of the past two weeks! Well now it’s time to bring the celebrations back to where they began for every Team GB athlete – their local sports club.
Join In Local Sport is a national celebration of everyone who helps to make an Olympian – from the coaches to the tea ladies, the competitors to the volunteers and supporters.
On the Join In Weekend (18/19th August), thousands of clubs and community groups around the UK will be holding fun, free events and activities for all ages – and you’re invited! Many Join In events will also be happening throughout the two weeks between the Olympics and Paralympics (13-28th August).
We’re getting right behind this campaign because it’s a great opportunity for us all to get out and enjoy the sporting opportunities that are right on our doorstep and no country has ever done anything like this before.
It promises to be the UK’s biggest celebration of local sport – and Join In needs your help to make it as amazing as possible.
Check out the website to search for your nearest event and to watch Eddie Izzard talking about why he’s backing the campaign.
Srihari, one of the organisers of The Big Jubilee Lunch at The Hindu Temple of Scotland in Glasgow, shares his experience and what was happening on the day…
We come from India and at The Hindu Temple of Scotland, The South Indian Cultural Centre endeavours to preserve South Indian Culture and Tradition. We wanted to celebrate The Diamond Jubilee following the norms of South Indian culture and were looking for ideas to make the celebration truly memorable. We then heard of the ethos behind The Big Jubilee Lunch and instantly wanted to adopt that into our celebrations.
The South Indian Cultural Centre is very proud to move into Rutherglen – an area with vast diversity. Our neighbours have welcomed us and made us feel an important part of the community. We wanted to thank them by making Rutherglen part of the worldwide celebration and The Big Jubilee Lunch gave us the perfect opportunity to open our doors. People from various backgrounds would join us, make friends and strengthen ties. This was the hope which lead us to take part in The Big Lunch 2012.
The celebration was an open event which involved music, dance and, of course, food. Hindu culture and tradition is an integral part of any South Indian celebration, hence a very special service was performed to begin the event. Our guests were then served an authentic vegetarian South Indian Big Lunch and had the chance to get to know each other over their meals. Entertainment followed with acts showcasing Scottish and South Indian culture, with talented local young people being given the opportunity to perform.
The ideas on The Big Lunch website gave us some inspiration. For example, we decorated the Temple steps with floor art and also decided to use the opportunity to raise funds for The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, collecting over £200.
On the day, a good mix of various communities joined us for the Big Jubilee Lunch. There were people from Mauritius, Africa, India and from across Scotland. The Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire could even fit us into his busy schedule attending events around Lanarkshire, representing the Queen. We welcomed both old and new guests into the Temple and the atmosphere we managed to create hopefully encouraged people to get to know each other well. We will be looking forward to being part of The Big Lunch next year!”
What’s your Big Lunch Story?
Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Plymouth Community Homes and Morley Court Residents association, have teamed up with the Eden Project on a new roof garden project to create an exciting space for residents; using the fun of The Big Lunch to find out exactly what the residents want for their new space.
The aim of the project is to transform a paved area on top of a car park in the middle of the City, into a vibrant, green oasis; improving people’s quality of life and providing a focal point for the community. Eden’s Resilient Communities Team has been working with residents to understand the different ways in which they plan to use the garden and make sure that their ideas are integrated into the final design.
In April, they held a “secret garden party”, where residents had a go at a variety of activities, including den building,games and banner making; while discussing their plans for the space. Jodie Giles, Resilient Communities Coordinator at Eden, said:
The residents’ ideas were collected through photography, film, postcards and model making. Jane Knight from Eden’s Landscape Team, then used all this information to inspire the design of the garden for the community and produced some drafts for everyone to feedback on.
Rather than organising another stand-alone event, or a boring meeting, planners then went along to the residents Big Lunch; where people were already out having fun and chatting to each other. The community were really happy by the initial plans drawn up and are now eager to see the final drafts; soon to blossom into a beautiful garden for all!
This project demonstrates that consultation need not be dull and difficult and that real community engagement can be done in a fun way. Whether it’s hosting a specific day, like the secret garden party or joining in with an existing community event like The Big Lunch. This way you are guaranteed a great turnout and can contribute to a fun and all-inclusive event, rather than fret about organising the whole thing from scratch!
If your Big Lunch made a Big impact in your community this year, we’d love to hear about it! email email@example.com to tell us all about it.