The community-wide Big Lunch

Jacky is a big part of the Eden Project Communties network in the North of England and has been organising Preston’s Big Lunch in Ashton Park for five years.

This is the fifth year and it’s grown every single year. It’s about getting communities together. It helps with isolation - families can have fun at very little cost. The support we get is incredible.

The Biggest Big Lunch?

The Big Lunch is one of Preston’s most popular summer events, and with a funfair, stalls, entertainment, food and a gin trolley(!) that's not such a suprise.

Each year, the city joins neighbourhoods, groups, high streets, towns and workplaces across the UK to celebrate community, share food and have fun on the Big Lunch weekend, and it's getting bigger.

According to Jacky,  with 7,000 people joining in, “we think it’s the biggest Big Lunch in the country and since no one has come forward to disprove it, I’m having that!”  

A successful community formula

This year, thanks to Awards for All grant funding, they had a funfair, bouncy castles, a 30m assault course, live stage acts, food stalls, two bars, an F1 simulator, laser quest and all the usual activities you’d expect at a Big Lunch! The weather wasn't its best, but everyone grabbed a brolly and enjoyed the day. 

It's not all about the exciting entertainment though.  At its heart this is a community event, and lots of local charities, groups and community projects have stalls. 

Jacky is joined at The Big Lunch event each year by Kay Johnson of The Larder, a social enterprise which uses food as a catalyst to solve local issues. The team from The Larder were handing out food for donations all day and fed around 250 people.

"People are able to talk to local charities, take part in their work, offer to volunteer...it brings everyone together."  The event also raised money for charity, with a total raised last year of £6,000!

The event has grown so much, they have the option to use another section of the park next year, but Jacky would like to keep it as is to make sure it maintains its community-focused feel. “We’ve got the formula now and it works,” she said. 

Read all about it

Jacky was spreading the word about The Big Lunch earlier this year as 'The Biggest Big Lunch' was featured in an article in the Express. Read all about it here.

Join people like Jacky next year and bring a little joy to your neighbourhood with The Big Lunch, 6-7 June 2020.

In the meantime, check out other stories of people and their communities for a little more inspiration.