Suffolk’s communities urged to stage a Big Lunch to bring people together

The Big Lunch, Hadleigh, JUne 1, 2014, Cox's Park.
The Spalding and Chisnal families

The Big Lunch, Hadleigh, JUne 1, 2014, Cox's Park. The Spalding and Chisnal families - Credit: Archant

People in Suffolk are urged to host a ‘Big Lunch’ next month to bring communities together, build stronger relationships with neighbours and meet new people.

The Big Lunch

The Big Lunch - Credit: Archant

Thousands of community parties were held in streets, back gardens and parks across the country last year for The Big Lunch, which takes place on the first Sunday in June every year.

The campaign, led by the Eden Project and made possible by the Big Lottery Fund, is now calling on people in the region to hold a Big Lunch event on June 7.

With research showing that social interaction is declining nationwide, with more than two thirds of adults experiencing loneliness and only 16% of people interacting socially with others once a week or less, organisers say it is even more important to get to know your neighbours.

Kerry Pratt, who organised a Big Lunch in Alderton, near Bawdsey, last year, said: “When I moved here, I had no family or friends nearby so it was quite isolating.


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“A few of my neighbours live alone so, by organising a Big Lunch, it has helped us all to get to know one another.

“I was ill earlier this year and my neighbours set up a rota so that, every day, someone knocked on my door to see if I was okay or to suggest I go out for a walk.

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“I felt really well looked after.”

A nationwide survey found that 84% of last year’s participants said the event made them feel better about their neighbourhood, while eight out of 10 respondents said they now keep in touch with people they have met at Big Lunches in previous years.

Sir Tim Smit KBE, co-founder of the Eden Project and The Big Lunch, said: “There’s still plenty of time to organise a Big Lunch for your neighbourhood. Whether it’s in your own street or back garden, in the park or at a local venue, a party for your neighbours really feeds community spirit.

“People are the key ingredient and more than 80% of Big Lunch participants tell us that the event made them feel better about their neighbourhood.”

Over the past six years, Big Lunches of all sizes have taken place in all kinds of communities, in streets, back gardens, parks and other community venues.

Thousands of events take place each year and 4.83million people took part in the UK last year.

Terry Hunt, editor, said: “At a time when we’ve been seeing so many evocative photos of VE Day street parties from 70 years ago, it’s really appropriate that the Big Lunch initiative is happening now.

“In today’s busy world, it can be all too easy for people to feel isolated and lonely – even in the middle of a town.

“Quite often, people don’t really get to know their neighbours because of the way we live our lives these days. This is a great way of starting to build those important community relationships.”

People interested in organising a Big Lunch can request a free planning pack, which contains invitations, posters, seeds and stickers, from www.thebiglunch.com or by calling 0845 850 8181.

The Big Lunch is supported by the Halifax and Asda.

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