The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours on the first Sunday in June annually in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.
Anna Newman from Clwyd Alyn Housing Association tells us all about their Big Lunch at Llys Erw, a sheltered housing scheme in Ruthin, North Wales, and gives some tips on how to arrange one.
“Our Big Lunch was a huge success! The weather was perfect and the residents had a whale of a time mixing with people from the local community, some of whom don’t get the opportunity to get out much. Everyone brought some food to share, and we also held a quiz and a raffle too!
We all agreed how wonderful the day was and we already have another one planned. We’re building on this one by taking part in the Grill On Fundraising BBQ event on 20th July, a nationwide event in aid of Cancer Research UK and can’t wait!
With our Big Lunch fast approaching; everyone clubbed together to help put finishing touches to our garden. We had an Awards for All Wales grant last year for furniture and planters, and the community pulled together to get it looking great. This really was the highlight of the event for me.”
I’ve learned a lot from the day so here are my tips for planning a Big Lunch
- Advertise widely.
We sent invites to 60 people expecting at least 30 to attend, unfortunately only 16 could come which was such a shame! If I were to hold another one I would advertise it in the local papers to ensure a better turn out.
- Ask people to bring a plate.
We have a core of residents who love events like this and really got involved in the planning! They decided that each of them would bring a plate of something and what it would be so that we didn’t end up with too many trifles! (It could be as simple as crisps if you aren’t a confident cook). It was a really great way to host the event for next to no money.
- Order your FREE Big Lunch Pack in plenty of time.
Part of the reason that not many people could attend is because we only sent the invites out a couple of weeks before the event. If you are going to hold a Big Lunch make sure to get your pack nice and early so that you can get those invites out!
- Don’t underestimate preparation time!
There are so many little things to do on the day, in all the hubbub getting things ready I completely forgot to ask my husband to pick up my mother in law! That meant that I had to make an unexpected 50 mile round trip the morning of the event. Make sure you plan a little time for unforeseen circumstances!
- You can have a great time without spending a fortune.
We have a brunch club every two weeks which we charge £3 for. We used money left over from the brunch club to help buy food and raffle prizes and of course we asked people to bring food too! The money from the raffle then went towards paying for the day so it almost paid for itself!This blog is part of a two part blog series; read the first part here.