Great news for neighbours as Nottingham gets a taste for The Big Lunch
Community spirit in Nottingham is set to receive a boost after a Big Lunch pop-up visited the city centre recently (4th May) to urge more local people to hold a Big Lunch with their neighbours in June this year.
The pop-up gave local people a taste of how easy it is to organise a Big Lunch - and a flavour of the great rewards that can come from getting to know their neighbours better.
The pop-up inspired a stream of sign-ups and a further 4,628 people in the Nottingham area are now expected to take part in the annual event this summer. They’ll be joining a growing movement – an estimated 700 Big Lunch events took place in the Nottingham area last year, where approximately 63,000 people took part and 47,000 new friendships formed.
Across the UK as a whole, over 6 million people take part in The Big Lunch each year with more than 4.5 million new connections made last year alone.
The Big Lunch is an idea from Eden made possible by the National Lottery. It takes place on the first weekend in June every year and is about people sitting down to eat, drink and chat with their neighbours. Whether it’s a lunch, an evening meal or a cuppa and a slice of cake, the important thing is that people take time to talk and get to know each other, which in turn strengthens friendships and connections, and builds stronger communities.
At the Nottingham pop-up people were able to find out what The Big Lunch is all about and how it transforms lives. The centre piece was an interactive model of towns and cities where real Big Lunches have taken place. Visitors to the stand were able to listen to audio clips of people who have taken part to hear first-hand about their experiences.
One of the clips is of Steve from Nottingham who held a Big Lunch last year. In the clip he tells of how it served to bring the community together and how the “highlight was watching people who had never spoken to each other making connections in that moment”. Steve’s message to others is “I’d like to see many more people doing Big Lunches across the UK. I think we need more of the same”
Such is his enthusiasm for The Big Lunch that he also volunteered at the pop-up where he was able to share his story directly with others and share his own tips and advice on holding an event.
A recent report from Eden showed that one in five people in the UK (20%) have never spoken to their neighbours and the same amount would have no one in their neighbourhoods to call on if they need help. The hope is that people in Nottingham can help reverse this trend by holding their own Big Lunch.
Matt Poole Senior Head of funding for the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “When people get together amazing things can happen and communities are able to thrive. The Big Lunch is about fun, food and friendship, but what we know is that the connections made are the building blocks for friendlier, safer and stronger communities. This is why we are using National Lottery funding to support this initiative and we hope that more people than ever will be involved in a Big Lunch this year.”
Diana Vogtel Big Lunch Network Developer Midlands & East of England, said: “Our research shows that over six in ten of us (62%) would say yes if a neighbour invited us over for tea – The Big Lunch provides that opportunity. This is why we’re delighted that so many people in Glasgow have committed to taking this first step towards getting to know their neighbours better and building stronger connections in their local community.
“Thanks to National Lottery players we are taking The Big Lunch pop-ups into communities across the UK to help more people understand the benefits of taking part and how it could transform their lives and communities. I would urge everyone to take a few hours over the weekend of 1 and 2 June to get together with their neighbours, share food, stories and have fun. We want everyone to join in with this national shared moment that unites us, our neighbourhoods and communities each and every year.”
This year The Big Lunch will take place over the weekend of 1 and 2 June, to find out more visit www.TheBigLunch.com