A group of walkers from The Eden Project’s Big Lunch are visiting a local housing association and the John Pounds Centre today, as part of 17 day walk to celebrate community projects across the UK. Sarah Cheverton reports.
The Big Lunch is Lottery-funded project that aims to bring millions of people together to share food and get to know each other better. This year a group of 8 walkers are taking part in a community-focused walk across the UK to learn about collaborative projects and neighbourhood activities, and to invite people all around the country to join the Big Lunch on 1st and 2nd June 2019.
More than 6 million people take part in the Big Lunch each year.
The walkers chose Portsmouth as one of their 17 stops on their walk, which began on 17th May and will end on the 2nd June 2019. They will visit the team from Radian Housing, one of the largest housing associations in the south, to learn about local community groups and projects, before visiting the John Pounds Centre in the afternoon to meet FoodCycle, a charity tackling food waste by feeding the community; Urbond, a charity that works to help the local community integrate with one another, whatever their beliefs and ideologies; and Victory Hants, which offers inclusive sport and leisure activities to all ages from 14 years upwards.
Jacky Charman of Radian Housing said, ‘We are delighted to welcome the Eden Project to Portsmouth for the Big Lunch Community Walk. This is a great opportunity for the project to meet community groups we support, and to encourage our customers to get together to take part in the Big Lunch. Not only is the Big Lunch a fantastic way for people to get out and meet their neighbours, but a valuable way for people to feel part of a community.’
Two Big Lunch walkers will visit the projects: Carole Wright from London, and Laura Graham from Northampton.
‘The opportunity to travel the country, shining a light on the wonderful work of community projects like this is amazing. They’re all helping to make their community a better place to live – it’s fantastic!’ said Carole.
Earlier this year, a OnePoll survey of more than 4,000 people found that almost three quarters (72%) don’t feel they know their neighbours well, with 1 in 5 reporting they did not know their neighbours’ names.
Laura Graham wants to get more Big Lunches started across the country to address the problem. She said, ‘Now, more than ever, we need to create connected communities in order to reduce loneliness and social isolation. Helping to do that through The Big Lunch community walk will be an honour.’
Big Lunch Ambassador, comedian and presenter Jo Brand said, ‘Links with community are vital in unsettling times. When the country feels so divided and disconnected, it seems more important than ever to come together and remember the importance of community spirit.’
The Big Lunch is taking place on 1st and 2nd June 2019 and ‘can be anything from a small gathering in a garden, park or driveway, to a larger party with trestle tables down the middle of your street’.
Find out more:
Organise your own Big Lunch event
The Big Lunch Community Walk website
Big Lunch and Community Networking at John Pounds Centre, Eventbrite tickets
Housing association, Radian Community on Facebook
Foodcycle Portsmouth, John Pounds Centre
Foodcycle Portsmouth, Kings Church
Victory Hants website