Alan and Gwen’s Big Lunch at Christmas!

Alan, Gwen and neighbours enjoying their Big Lunch at Christmas in the street

Alan and Gwen live in Leigh on Sea, where they’ve been getting their neighbours together for a Big Lunch every year since 2012. A close-knit community has formed over the years, and the street is now regularly adorned with colourful bunting, neighbours holding street tidying events, weekly food bank collections and supporting each other through good times and bad.

Alan said, “For us, because we live in a big urban area, it can be difficult to form connections. But when you make the effort, support naturally flows from people. Rather than saying a quick hello, people actually want to stop and chat now, and will go out of their way to help others.”

This year, Alan and Gwen decided to kick off the festive season with a Big Lunch at Christmas, which saw them gather their neighbours to communally switch on the street’s Christmas lights. With decorations aplenty, mulled wine flowing and the sound of carols in the air, the event was a huge hit with the whole community.

“We had a great night, with around 40 of us out on the street celebrating. Lots of houses had lights on display, Christmas music was playing and children spent time chalking the street with Christmas trees and presents. Two hours of laughter and catching up were enjoyed before the rain started to fall!”

Fancy bringing The Big Lunch at Christmas magic to your area? As with the annual Big Lunch in June, it’s all about getting together with neighbours for friendship, food, and some much-needed festive fun.

It could be anything from inviting the neighbours in for tea and mince pies or laying an extra place at your dinner table for someone that lives alone, through to bigger get-togethers like Alan and Gwen’s - or even hosting something in a local community venue. You could also look at your council’s website to see if anything is happening in your nearest Warm Space.

However you decide to join in, check out our free guide, invites and food and drink ideas to help make your event a cracker!

Join The Big Lunch at Christmas