The Big Lunch is a concept created by the Eden Project. The idea is to get as many villages and residents as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours. Held once a year it’s a simple act of friendship, community and fun.
It all started back in 2009 and since then thousands of Big Lunch events have been held in all types of communities across the UK.
In 2011 the Big Lunch was held nationally on Sunday 5th June and the best part of 2 million people took part. In 2012 the Big Lunch coincided with The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which was on Sunday 3rd June, so the Big Jubilee Lunch became part of the main Diamond Jubilee celebrations. An astonishing 8 and a half million people took part in this events across the UK, despite the appalling weather.
The Big Lunch Hanley Swan has been involved with The Big Lunch since it’s inception and have always had a great turnout. The organisers have managed to pull together some fun entertainment and have helped to raise funds for the village. In 2009 Neil and Gigi raised funds for the pond by hosting a ‘Hook a Duck’ stand and selling bagged up duck food, which was great fun and raised over £40.
In 2012 the Big Lunch at Hanley Swan could have been a total wash out, as it absolutely poured with rain, BUT the British resolve ensured that village folk turned out to support this great event.
If you are looking to organise your very own Big Lunch event, you can pick up tips on party bunting, games and entertainment at the Big Lunch official website. It can be a great way to get to know your neighbours and raise funds.
To get you started here are some steps to organising a Big Lunch event.
1. Settle on a venue
Either look to hold something in the road, your back garden or a local park, school or community centre. You’ll just need permission if you want to close a road, so best to make enquiries before you commit or call the Big Lunch team on 0845 850 8181.
2. Check out who will attend
Find a few friendly neighbours to help you get leaflets out and posters up. You will get what you need in the Big Lunch pack or you can download templates from the Big Lunch website. Personally inviting people is the most powerful method as you can and ask them to spread the word.
3. Local support
See what people can offer in way of support for your Big Lunch. Local shops and businesses may be in a postion to lend you tables and chairs, prizes for raffles and donate food and drink.
The simplest approach is to suggest a ‘bring-your-own picnic’ event, but pig roasts or BBQ’s work really well too.
Ask the local school to help make bunting and decorations out of the family recycling box. Give the kids some chalk to decorate the pavement, blow ups a few balloons, hang streamers and use flowers and you’re done.
If you have a few gardens involved why not all tune into the same radio station or see if there are any local bands or groups who could play on the day.
This is a great opportunity to raise local funds through stalls, and raffles. You can also check what charaties The Big Lunch organisers are supporting and add to that.
8. Addtional tips
Think about your entertainment, games and activities and make sure they are suitable for all ages. You’ll find loads of ideas on the Big Lunch website. On the music,front, try to make sure it’s varied and not too loud, so not to upset anyone.