Kathryn Welch works at Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling. She first heard about The Big Lunch when she attended an Eden Project Communities Community Camp.
‘I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend an Eden Project Community Camp in early 2017, where I got to meet lots of people who’d hosted a Big Lunch.’
Macrobert Arts Centre
Macrobert Arts Centre is a theatre, cinema and art gallery in Stirling, with a mission to help as many people as possible to discover, celebrate and enjoy their creativity.
‘At Macrobert, we’ve been developing regular dementia-friendly provision over the past few years, including a monthly live event. We’re also part of a project led by the (world leading) Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling, which is about creating communities that are inclusive and welcoming for people with dementia.’
They hold all kinds of regular creative provision for young people, older people, and those with additional support needs, and always try to be part of activity that brings people together.
The Big Lunch
2018 was Macrobert Arts Centre’s first Big Lunch, so for them very much a test case! The concept of a Big Lunch worked so well for them, that they decided to host a second lunch in the autumn of each year as part of Central Scotland Documentary Festival, which is hosted and curated at Macrobert. In 2018, this also – happily – coincided with Fun Palaces weekend, which is a beautiful fit with the Big Lunch in terms of community togetherness and sharing.
‘We had a ‘quiet area’ for people to escape to for a break if the noise got too much. We invited our local dementia charities to spread the word amongst their communities, and were glad that our regular attendees at our dementia-friendly events joined us too.’
In 2018, people came out of a screening of the documentary ‘Meeting Jim’, a film about a man who regularly opens his home to share food with strangers, and dived straight into their own Big Lunch, mingling with Fun Palace Makers and participants too. And this year on 13 October, the Big Lunch followed a screening of ‘Her Century’, which celebrates women’s fight for equality across 100 years of social change, to coincide with their fourth Big Lunch.
‘The Big Lunch has rapidly become part of life here at Macrobert. It’s a perfect fit with our passion for conversation, and for bringing different people and ideas together to share their views on the world. It’s enabled us to meet new people, try out a different way of engaging with our community, and inspired us to start our own regular series of ‘Creative Breakfasts’ to bring people together one morning a month for coffee and conversation. Big Lunches have helped to bring more joy, conversation and connection to Macrobert Arts Centre – thank you!’
Each time, they’ve had a lovely mix of people join them from people who were visiting the venue for the first time to people that know them well, families, students, and older people and there’s been music, Gaelic singing, crafts and of course, lots of cake.