THOUSANDS SIT DOWN TO BIG LUNCH

PUBLISHED: 11:21 02 June 2014 | UPDATED: 13:18 30 August 2017

TBL_2014_Par_SW_01

TBL_2014_Par_SW_01

Thousands of people across Cornwall have been sitting down with their neighbours for the sixth annual Big Lunch on 1 June, joining an estimated four million people across the UK.

The Big Lunch, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Eden Project, encourages people across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year, for a few hours of community, friendship and fun. Organisers behind the initiative say that the simple act of chatting to neighbours can make a real difference in communities and can help tackle isolation.

One of the biggest Big Lunches taking place was the event in Wadebridge, where the main street was lined with tables and chairs and several thousand people, including Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of The Big Lunch, came together for fun, food and entertainment.

Adrian Jones, the Wadebridge Big Lunch organiser, said: “It's quite a moving thing to go from planning something like this to seeing people on the street and everyone getting together and enjoying themselves! And we've got sun, perfect!”

Other Big Lunches taking place in Cornwall included a party at Bude Sea Pool, a lunch with fancy dress and talent competitions in Truro, a picnic at Perranwell football club and a lunch for the whole village held in Tregony Congregational Church.

Par Parish Council got in on the fun early and held their Teddy Bears’ Picnic earlier in the week. The event, which took place at Par Beach Play Area included face painting, a bouncy castle, games and prizes for many of the visiting teddy bears. Abbeyfield House in St Austell will also be taking part in The Big Lunch later this week, with food and fun for residents, volunteers and neighbours.

Jo Williams, who helped organise a Big Lunch in Truro along with her mother Avril Blake, said: “It’s been lovely for neighbours to get out and talk to each other, because we don’t always have the opportunity to do it that often.

“We’ve had a brilliant time and there has been a brilliant spirit of community. There has been a great mix of people and ages from 6 months old to 86 years old.”

Sir Tim Smit said: “Year after year, I never fail to be impressed by the sheer number of people who get involved and take the time to hold a Big Lunch in their community. The Big Lunch is always a great success and the perfect excuse for people to get together. While on the surface, it’s a day of laughter, friendship and fun, if you look deeper than that, these get-togethers are having an enormously positive impact on communities. Big things come from Big Lunches and what they each have in common is they all start in the same way – with small talk.

“After six years, it’s amazing to see so many people taking our simple idea and really making it work wonders for their communities. We’ve heard so many inspiring stories already and know they’ll be plenty more to come. Roll on The Big Lunch 2015…”

People can still take part in the celebrations and can organise a Big Lunch at a date that suits the community. Free packs including posters, invitations, an inspiration booklet and other resources to help organise a Big Lunch are available from www.thebiglunch.com until the end of June 2014.

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