This Saturday marks 50 days until the Big Lunch - the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours - on Sunday, June 1.
The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project, to get as many of the 63 million people in the UK as possible to have lunch with their neighbours once a year.
Big Lunches can be any size or shape and can take place anywhere where neighbours can get together, from streets and gardens to parks, allotments and community centres.
The key ingredient to any Big Lunch is people, as those who take part help to create friendlier communities where residents start sharing more, from conversations to ideas, skills and resources.
With 50 days to go, there is still time for people to start planning. To help make the process easy, The Big Lunch has created free packs, which include posters, invitations, an inspiration booklet and other materials to help people get started.
Last year Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, came to Trowbridge’s The Mead Community Primary School for a cuppa and slice of cake to mark their first ever Big Lunch. She was taken for a tour of The Big Community Grow gardens at the school, in Hackett Place, Hilperton, talking to children and planting a Jubilee oak tree,
For anyone with ideas, big or small, packs can be requested online at www.thebiglunch.com where there is plenty of additional advice on practical questions such as contacting the council to close a road.
Caroline Davies-Khan, who helped organise a Big Lunch in Swindon, said: “The day was really enjoyable and it was lovely to see people of all ages getting to know each other better.
"Some of the people who came to The Big Lunch ended up chatting to neighbours who they’d never even met before.”
Research shows that that there are many benefits to having a Big Lunch.
More than 60 per cent of organisers say having an event in their community made them feel less isolated and 86 per cent of the 3.65 million people that took part in last year’s Big Lunch reported a positive long-term effect in their neighbourhood as a result.
Sir Tim Smit KBE, Founding Director, Eden Project and co-Founder The Big Lunch said: “The Big Lunch is all about getting together and having fun.
"It doesn’t have to be a big event, even a small get-together in your garden or on your street is a great way to get neighbours talking, sharing conversation, skills, resources – and, of course, the vital ingredient – food.
"It’s not too late to take part in this year’s event on June 1 so why not sign up now for your free pack and get your own event started.”
The Big Lunch is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax, ASDA and StreetClub by B&Q.