How can councils help?

Councils can really help to encourage and support people in their areas to get involved in The Big Lunch - and reap the community benefits, here's how.

1. Spread the word - externally

Council communications and media teams: use the copy templates, suggested social media posts, photographs, logos and sample press release provided to promote The Big Lunch through your communications including your:

  • Council website, newsletters, publications, events and social media
  • Use #TheBigLunch across social channels
  • Key message: Encourage residents to request their FREE Big Lunch packs, full of tips and resources to help with their planning

2. Spread the word - internally

  • Please share this information with your communities, neighbourhoods, highways, tenancy involvement and diversity teams
  • Ask them to support and encourage people and community groups in your local area to get involved with The Big Lunch

3. Support and encourage

Councils can make it easier for people wanting to bring their communities together on Big Lunch weekend by offering guidance, grants and simplifying road closures. Lots of councils are already supporting residents and seeing the benefits, read some of their stories here.

While Big Lunches can take place anywhere, a lot of people love holding them in their street, creating a sense of identity with, and responsibility for, their shared space.  Your traffic managers and highways teams (or whoever manages road closures in your area) may receive higher volumes of temporary road closure applications over the coming months.  We advise Big Lunch organisers to contact their local council as early as possible about road closures. Take a look at our Road Closure Guidance for organisers for reference.

Help reduce barriers for Big Lunch organisers by minimising costs, for example: 

  • Grouping multiple applications together under a single traffic management order if possible
  • Covering part (if not all) of the cost using any budget that is available. In the past some councils have been able to allocate part of their ‘events’ budget to local Big Lunch applications
  • Providing grants for communities unable to meet the costs, or linking organisers to local businesses willing to lend support

You can check out's advice on organising a street party here

Publish guidance on your website to provide Big Lunch organisers with the information they need to close their road. For example:

  • The time frame and closing date for road closure applications
  • What to do if an application is unsuccessful
  • Suggestions for alternative Big Lunch locations, eg. parks, community centres, communal gardens, car parks
  • Public liability insurance (if necessary)
  • Risk assessments
  • On-the-day signage

We know road closures aren't always possible so in these cases, please try to offer an alternative council venue or park nearby, or encourage use of shared spaces and other local venues.

4. Plan a Public event

Take the lead and plan a public Big Lunch for your area.  Read about councils who have done this before here, and get in touch so we can help with materials and publicity! 

Notes for councils in Northern Ireland

In 2017 Councils in Northern Ireland took over road closure for special events and each area has their own approach. Our NI team is small but we offer good localised advice to anyone wishing to host The Big Lunch on their street and we hope all councils will work with us to enable more people to step forward and organise a neighbourhood Big Lunch.

For more information, take a look at our council case studies, or get in touch to talk to the team.