Community spirit in Cardiff is set to receive a boost after the Big Lunch visited the city centre yesterday to urge more local people to hold a Big Lunch with their neighbours in June this year. The stand 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.
This year The Big Lunch will take place over the weekend of 1 and 2 June, to find out more visit www.TheBigLunch.com
The stand inspired a stream of sign-ups and a further 5,340 people in the Cardiff area are now expected to take part in the annual event this summer. They’ll be joining a growing movement – an estimated 1,400 Big Lunch events took place in the Cardiff area last year, where approximately 130,000 people took part and over 96,000 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 Cardiff 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 Heather from Cardiff who held a Big Lunar Lunch to allow for fasting during Ramadan last year. In the clip Heather tells how she got the whole community involved “It’s really important to forge relationships and breakdown barriers so we’re able to say we’re the same, we’re all human.” Heather’s advice to others thinking about taking part is: “…don’t hesitate, there’s so much support available.”
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 Cardiff can help reverse this trend by holding their own Big Lunch.
Lowri Jenkins, Big Lunch Country Manager – Wales, 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 Cardiff 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.”