Friends and neighbours invited to take part in funded event to build community spirit

Last year's Big Lunch underway in Poleglass.
Last year's Big Lunch underway in Poleglass.

Friends and neighbours in Lisburn and throughout Lagan Valley are being invited to take part in a funded get-together to build community spirit.

The Big Lunch is returning to Northern Ireland on Sunday, June 7.

Now in its seventh year, The Big Lunch is described as a low-cost way to have a great time with everyone who lives nearby, with free lottery-funded packs available to local residents, groups and schools.

Among hundreds of Big Lunches last year was one in Springbank Drive, Poleglass, organised by Habinteg Housing and due to return this year.

Lisburn’s Halifax branch is also taking part. “We are proud to support The Big Lunch again,” said branch manager Rose Hewitt. “4.8 million people shared Big Lunch fun with their neighbours in 2014 and we hope more local people will order the free pack and consider joining in this year.

“We will be giving out kits to Big Lunch Organisers to help make their event a success and Halifax staff are also hoping to volunteer at Big Lunches locally, so do visit the website and think about giving this simple act of community spirit a go.”

The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by The Big Lottery Fund and sponsored this year by ASDA and Halifax.Launched in 2009, it is becoming a traditional part of the annual calendar for communities across Northern Ireland.

Grainne McCloskey, manager of the Big Lunch in Northern Ireland, said: “Big Lunches can be big or small – they don’t need to cost much because everyone brings something to the table and people are the key ingredient.

“Joining in feeds community spirit, providing the perfect recipe to have fun with your neighbours. Big Lunches encourage friendlier, safer neighbourhoods and we are delighted, but unsurprised, that people taking part report feeling a stronger sense of community afterwards.

“The Big Lunch day is just the start, because it is what can happen afterwards that really makes the difference.”

Joanne McDowell, Northern Ireland Director of the Big Lottery Fund said: “We are delighted to continue our support for The Big Lunch. Lots of people told us that it has changed how they feel about their local community, and it shows just how powerful a simple idea can be.”