It’s the Big Lunch on Sunday but it’s not too late to hold one. When Emma Parsons Reid decided to hold a Big Lunch on her street in Cardiff last year, she was overwhelmed by the support and help she got from her local community. Here, she shares her story of how everyone got stuck in on the day; and how together they are working together to grow a community that they can all be proud of:
Our first Big Lunch was the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, after discovering The Big Lunch through a quick search on the internet. The Big Lunch pack gave me some great ideas; and plenty of support to inspire us and get the streets started.
Our BBQ Big Lunch was held on Sunday 3rd June last year and we were overwhelmed by all the help we had to organise the day. Our local Communities First were really helpful and lent us some gazebos which were just as well as it rained heavily all day! I arranged the street closure, which was really simple to do with our local Council and I sent out flyers to invite people and to drum up some support. Neighbours got back to me fairly quickly to say they could supply BBQs, sound systems etc. for the big day.
The night before, neighbours came out and put up the bunting. Races were organised with the children until the rain made it impossible to go on. Our local councillor joined our celebrations… and unfortunately the gazebo emptied its rainwater down her back! Thankfully she took it well! It was very exciting when ITV Wales came out and filmed us singing the National Anthem, and we all watched it later in a neighbour’s house.
Since our Big Lunch everyone is a lot closer and more caring towards each other. I know we’re all looking forward to a get together at our house again this June. We’re having a garden party with everyone bringing food and drink to ours. I have organised the gazebo’s again in case of rain! Since our event we have been invited to a few parties at each other’s homes and in the nicer weather, we chat while gardening and have a good old gossip. We have a very ill resident on out street and his wife knows she can ask for help if she needs it and during the snow I did some shopping for her.
I enjoy knowing that I can call on a neighbour if I need help and it makes me feel secure that I know everybody’s name in the street. We keep an eye on each other’s property and we now have a shared history from the parties. We have photos of everyone having a good time and I think that’s a lovely thing to pass on to my grandchildren. They love my street and play out with the other children now, when they stay with me. They will grow up with a sense of community and I feel proud I can give them that.”
It’s not too late to hold a Big Lunch! Apply for your free pack or call the team on 0845 580 8181.