Big Walk visit puts Lisburn community groups in the spotlight

The Big Walk NI team, with Lisburn woman Amanda Kirkpatrick (left).
The Big Walk NI team, with Lisburn woman Amanda Kirkpatrick (left).

Fun, food and friendship will be on the menu on Monday, May 21 as Lisburn Creative Collective invites people to join them at Penny Square from 9.30am - 10.30am for a special visit from The Big Walk.

The Big Walk is an initiative journeying across the UK to shine a light on the fantastic communities and projects that make great things happen where they live.

An idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery, The Big Walk is designed to celebrate the people at the heart of the UK’s communities, who work together to make a positive difference locally, while sharing an invitation to everyone to bring their own community together for The Big Lunch, the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours on Sunday, June 3.

Amanda Kirkpatrick from Lisburn is playing a central role in The Big Walk team, which will travel 250 miles in England, the Isle of Man and all over Northern Ireland.

As Event Co-ordinator for The Big Walk, Amanda will be liaising with community groups along the route to ensure their events run smoothly. She is also co-ordinating the Lisburn Creative Collective event and will be hosting a Big Lunch on Sunday, June 10 at Penny Square, which is open to everyone in the community.

“I am very proud of living in Lisburn and am passionate about promoting the city in a positive light,” the 38-year-old said.

“There are lots of community groups here which do fantastic work in their own right, but The Big Walk and The Big Lunch will bring people together to form partnerships for bigger and better projects in the future.

“If you have had a great idea for a community project in Lisburn but aren’t sure how to progress it, come along and talk to us on Monday, May 21.”

Michael Conlon, 43, from Belfast is the Northern Ireland representative of The Big Walk. He set off from Morecambe on Wednesday, May 16 live on BBC’s The One Show and has 250 miles to cover in 18 days.

On arrival in Lisburn, Michael will receive a warm welcome of live music, beautiful food, lively conversation. He says he is really looking forward to his visit to the town.

“Penny Square was a derelict space which has been regenerated through people power alone,” he said. “It has lots of potential to host a range of community events and encourage people to work together in the city centre. I’m really looking forward to meeting the people at the heart of this fantastic community and to walking up an appetite for The Big Lunch on Sunday, June 3.”

Peter Stewart of The Big Lunch added: “The Big Walk celebrates the great things people make happen where they live. The Big Lunch is a chance for people everywhere to build those friendships and connections locally, which help to create stronger, happier communities. Last year 9.3 million people had fun together at over 96,000 events across the UK - so give our walkers a smile and a wave, and sign up to bring your own community together for a Big Lunch on June 3.”

There are two ways that local people can get involved with The Big Walk and The Big Lunch celebrations:

• Follow #TheBigWalk journey online to see lots of inspiring communities in action.

• Order a free pack and join millions of others across the UK for The Big Lunch on Sunday, June 3 - www.thebiglunch.com