A taste of The Big (Virtual) Lunch weekend

It’s been so lovely to hear about all the different ways people celebrated and connected over The Big Lunch weekend across the UK, online and face to face.  From Zoom calls, quizzes and online cook-alongs, to lunch deliveries, doorstep chats and tea breaks.  Here’s a little taste of how some Big Lunchers celebrated across the nations.

Northern Ireland

Niamh held a Lunar Lunch for people with performances from comedian Wendy Blemmings, storyteller Liz Weir, and musician & poet Conor O’Kane.  There was a lot of mixing and mingling and everyone met a few new people, which was awesome. 

Also in Northern Ireland, Eileen Chan-Hu was delighted to partner with Sanjay GhoshImageNation Ni for the Big Virtual Lunch NI with #IndiaToNI.

"It was our first CRAIC NI Big Lunch and it was great to promote diversity through food, cultures and bringing people together. Members of the Indian community through ImageNationNi, our friends and some of the trainers at CRAIC NI came together for a great cultural experience.  Thanks to Storyteller Peter ChandLiz Weir and Magdalena Lena Houston for an impromptu bilingual story in Punjabi, English and French!"

They also had Ganesh Slokas chants (Sanskrit poetic verse), Indian poetry and Nitin Sonawane, joined from Georgia to speak about his Gandhi Peace Walk, all rounded off with some singing and games.

England

The Vine Community Centre in Nottingham joined in with The Big Lunch as part of Volunteers Week – celebrating all the #NottinghamStar volunteers that had been delivering food to vulnerable people over the last months. The Vine Community Centre serves the local community, particularly those in greatest need, improves social cohesion across cultures and aims to improve family life and to increase learning and economic development.

In Preston, The Larder supports the movement for sustainable food in Lancashire, promoting healthier and sustainable food to the public and addressing food poverty. They worked with Community Gateway Association, and packed 64 bags of ingredients which were delivered to tenants, to enjoy pizza making with their families and communities over The Big Lunch weekend.

Each bag was also complete with recipe cards and link to an online video – what a fantastic way to celebrate The Big Lunch!

Wales

Anne Marie and her Beaver group held their first Big Lunch in 2019 and were keen to get involved again this year even though it had to be virtual, they knew what to do. Anne Marie said, “Since lockdown, we’ve been holding our weekly sessions online, which has been great. We’ve had scavenger hunts, drumming sessions, and even have a first aid session planned!”

Anne Marie planned their Big Virtual Lunch around food, with a session on making peppermint creams. She shared the ingredients beforehand, then they all took to Zoom to make them together. She said, “The group had a great time, and the session went really well!”

For Anne Marie, creating the peppermint creams was the first step. In true Big Lunch style, she encouraged her group of 6-8-year-olds to descend on their local community, and share their sweet creations with their neighbours. She said, “Our group were brilliant when it came to sharing the sweets. In our community, we have a chap who, by his own choice, lives homeless. One Beaver decided that he would share his sweets with him. It was lovely to see.”

Emma, Irene and Sarah in Neath, arranged, put together and delivered a surprise afternoon tea delivery to over 90 households. Emma said, “We've been doing hot food daily for about 20 people, so they knew about it in advance, but the volunteers and other members/ supporters we did it for didn't know – in fact most of our committee didn't know. It was me, Irene and Sarah. The afternoon tea deliveries worked really well and reminded people they weren't alone or forgotten, and that they're appreciated. We had a few tears, but were assured they were happy ones.”

Scotland

Sophie organised her first Big Lunch with her neighbours in Edinburgh, meeting face to face but keeping a safe distance. She said, “The sun came out and it was so good to get to know our neighbours better.” They are looking forward to being able to have a ‘proper’ Big Lunch in the future!

Jan Kerr in Lundin Links, Fife, held a physically distant Big Lunch on their street on the Sunday. She also shared this photo of a bagpiper entertaining residents from the garden!

Join in over the summer! You can still bring people together for a Big Lunch and get to know your neighbours – just make sure you follow the guidance where you live to stay safe, find out more here.

We also have an ongoing programme of free online workshops and discussions exploring all sorts of ideas and themes, as well as just an opportunity for a nice natter. See what's planned and sign up here