The Big Lunch, started in 2009, is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.
Hoylake has hosted a number of Big Lunches and HVL's food 'Ambassador' Gerry Martin is on the case to get more Hoylake streets buzzing with 'Big Lunches' in 2014. (A link to Ferndale Road's 2013 Big Lunch Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/368476579929291/)
A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.
Having a Big Lunch with your neighbours can be great fun! Here are just a few reasons why it's good to sit down and eat with your neighbours:
- To stoke up community spirit – we call it ‘human warming’.
- To make the third of us who live alone feel happier, closer and friendlier.
- To show how local people can change a neighbourhood for good, forever.
- To conquer our natural shyness by opening our curtains, doors and minds and looking out for one another.
- To share stories, skills and tools, so we all end up richer in every sense.
- To discover common ground across age, class, faith, race and the garden fence, and to remind ourselves that charity begins at home, or at most, a couple of doors away.
And, as there have been so many Big Lunches already across the UK, there are hard starticistics that prove that it works:
- 82 per cent of participants felt closer to their neighbours as a result of The Big Lunch
- 88 per cent of people met new people at the event
- 81 per cent thought the event had made a positive impact on their community (2009 – 11)
- 74 per cent of people feel a stronger sense of community (2012)
- 82 per cent of participants from 2009-2011 have kept in touch with people they had met at previous Lunches
You can, of course use The Big Lunch as a fundraising event. Lots of organisers have used their Big Lunch as an opportunity to raise money for charity.
You can also make your Big Lunch venue look the part by embellishing it with decorations. Why not get together with neighbours and have some fun making your own? Bunting, street art, all sorts of decorations that will brighten up the street scene.
If you want to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you get organised. In the meantime here's a brief summary of what's involved:
- Choose a venue: Your Big Lunch can take place anywhere; in the road, back garden, park, school or community centre. If you want to close the road, it’s best to make enquiries as soon as possible. Some councils can be lenient on road closure notices, you just need to phone them and check. If you can’t close your road, there are plenty of other options, just make sure you get the relevant permission
- Invite people: Find out who wants to come by handing out invites, leaflets and putting up posters – perhaps your neighbours will help you? If you don’t have time for this, Facebook and Twitter are quick, easy and cheap ways of inviting people. The Hoylake Village Life faceboook page is an excellent starting point! Top tip: try to get people to RSVP so you know how many people are coming and how much food and drink there needs to be. This will reduce waste.
- Bring food: Ask people to bring their own dishes so that people can share food and keep cost and waste down. Perhaps ask the even house numbers to bring sweets and the odd house numbers to bring savouries. Top tip: try and set a time for lunch, this will be useful in kick-starting the party!
- Decoration: Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring props such as chairs and tables – get creative by sitting on coolers and using ironing boards as tables. You can decorate on the day with things like balloons and flowers, even chalk for the children to decorate the pavement.
- On the day – top tips:
- Try to make sure that your entertainment, games and activities are suitable for all ages.
- There are tons of ideas on the website.If you have music, make sure it’s varied, not too loud and doesn’t go on too late!
- Set a time for lunch – it really helps to get the party started
- Take photos and most importantly, have fun!
Like the idea?