The Big Lunch FAQs
What is The Big Lunch?
The Big Lunch brings neighbours and communities together to share friendship, food and fun. An idea from the Eden Project, made possible by the National Lottery, it started back in 2009, and takes place each year in June. It’s about celebrating community connections and getting to know one another a little better.
Events can be big or small, inside or outside, casual or filled with all sorts of games, activities and excitement. The main thing is that people come together for food, friendship and fun. Sign up for your free Big Lunch pack for lots of ideas, tips and resources to help you start planning including poster and invitation templates. You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow us on social (@edencommunities) to receive updates, advice and Big Lunch news.
When is The Big Lunch?
The Big Lunch takes place annually on the first weekend in June. This year there was an extra-special Coronation Big Lunch, part of the official Coronation celebrations from 6-8 May 2023.
Sign up to receive all you need to get started, fun ideas and top tips, practical advice and loads more. Your free Big Lunch pack has everything you need to get started.
The official date for The Big Lunch doesn’t suit, can we still take part?
Of course! You can host a Big Lunch at any time – choose what works for your community!
Just like our communities, Big Lunches come in all shapes and sizes. No matter when you’re joining in, The Big Lunch is a chance for everyone to celebrate community connections and get to know one another a little better. The most important thing about having a Big Lunch is bringing people together, so if the date doesn’t suit you or your community, we absolutely encourage you to hold your Big Lunch on a different date.
Many people organise regular Big Lunches with their neighbours throughout the year, and also at different times of the day. The Lunar Lunch is a great way to bring your community together after nightfall if a day time get-together doesn’t work for you or your neighbours.
What is The Big Lunch’s link with the Eden Project?
The Eden Project started The Big Lunch because it believes that we are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face when we face them together. The Big Lunch is part of Eden Project Communities and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.
I live outside the UK, can I have a Big Lunch?
Yes! To date, we know that Big Lunches have taken place in over 70 countries worldwide. In 2018, the UK hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and we teamed up with the Commonwealth Summit Unit to encourage people to hold Commonwealth Big Lunches which brought people together from across the 53 nations and six continents.
We’re an organisation, can we take part in, or support The Big Lunch?
Yes, you can! Lots of organisations and businesses support The Big Lunch and help us to engage more communities through communications and specific activities. Businesses and workplaces can also join The Big Lunch by encouraging teams and staff to have lunch together – it’s fun, friendly and also helps to build cross team connections. If you want to explore how you could partner with The Big Lunch, please get in touch with our Head of Partnerships, Gemma Snow.
How can my school get involved?
Children, parents and teachers — The Big Lunch needs you! Schools can either hold their own Big Lunches, or help their pupils get ready for a local Lunch, for example, by making decorations and food, or growing veg. Lending chairs and equipment to Big Lunches happening nearby is a handy help too. We have specific guidance for schools and how to link The Big Lunch with the curriculum.
Can I fundraise for charity at my Big Lunch?
Yes, of course! Lots of people use their Big Lunch to raise awareness or funds for a cause close to their heart, be it their own community group or a bigger, national charity. In 2022, £22m was raised at Big Lunches, 75% of which went to local charities and causes. Take a look at our guide to community fundraising and there are lots of ideas and tips in our Big Lunch pack this year.
What if there isn’t a Big Lunch planned in my area?
Start your own! Perhaps find someone on the street who wants to help you, and see who else wants to get involved. It just takes one person to take the first step and get The Big Lunch ball rolling!
Where do I start?
If it’s your first time organising a Big Lunch, try to start small to keep things as simple as possible. You can request your free pack now to help you get started and in the meantime, there’s lots more information, tips and advice here.
When should I start planning?
Whenever you’re ready! It really depends on what you’ve got in mind. It’s good to spark up interest within the community with a couple of months to spare so that people have time to get involved in the planning and organising with you. if you’re thinking about closing a road get in touch with your local council as soon as possible, some require up to 12 weeks notice.
Can I build a Big Lunch into an existing event or celebration?
Absolutely, it’s a great way to get it started locally. The Big Lunch is really flexible and can fit alongside or as part of many existing activities. Speak to our team if you have further questions.
What if I want to close my road?
Your council may ask you to pay fees for closing the road for a street party however, guidance from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities states that you are not required by law to pay a charge for closing your road (for small residential street parties in England) but some councils may need to cover the costs for admin and planning. You should ask your council what the charges are for and allow plenty of time to make the application.
How much will it cost?
Big Lunches don’t need to cost anything!. You could simply hold one on your doorstep, ask people to come out at the same time, decorate the front of your house with stuff you have already or can make, and bring your own snack or beverage!
Do I need insurance?
It depends on the type of event you’re organising; where you’re holding it and who’s invited. For small events in private spaces, you won’t need insurance . If you’re closing your road, you may need insurance. Always speak to your local authority and explain your plans. See our advice on insurance for your Big Lunch if you’d like more information.
I’m worried about food hygiene, do we need a license?
Organising small, private street parties and community events should be simple and things like risk assessments, licenses and health and safety certificates are not normally required.
Do I need to close my street?
Not at all! If you can’t close your road, you can hold your Big Lunch on any patch of land or any building such as a communal, private or pub garden, a local park, driveway, school playground, church, mosque, synagogue, gurdwara or temple — wherever you want, as long as you have the relevant permissions.
If you do want to close your road for a street party you will need to get in touch with the Highways Department at your local council to find out how to go about it. It’s best to do this as early as possible as some councils require up to 12 weeks’ notice.
Should I tell you about my event?
Should I take photos?
Yes! We love to see pictures and videos from your Big Lunches! We like to share them on our social media channels and website to show others what a Big Lunch could look like. Please send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and share them on social media using the hashtag #TheBigLunch.
I’m having problems closing my road, can you help?
If you want to have a Big Lunch street party and you’re having problems closing your road, don’t fret, our team are here to help you. Get in touch with the team on 0800 022 3357 or email email@example.com.