• Epic UK-trek to bring communities together
• Sets off from Batley - home of the late MP Jo Cox - on 29 May
The Big Lunch today [Thursday 25 May] announced The Great Big Walk with the backing of comedian Jo Brand, a week before the start of an adventure which will see five teams of walkers span the UK connecting people and celebrating community.
The Great Big Walk, starting on 29 May, will highlight the rich diversity of communities which make up the backbone of the UK, while demonstrating the commonality we all share.
Peter Stewart, Eden Project Executive Director, said: “The Great Big Walk is an incredible project that will shine a light on the ordinary people all over the UK doing extraordinary things for their community. Whether coming together in celebration or in solidarity, in times like these the importance of community unity is greater than ever before. This project will share the positive impact that people coming together can have.
Setting off from Batley, West Yorkshire, where Jo Cox was MP, five teams of walkers will head home in time to join The Big Lunch as the highlight of The Great Get Together celebrations inspired by Jo Cox, and marking the first anniversary of her death 16-18 June.
The Great Big Walk, an idea from the Eden Project made possible with funding from the National Lottery and other supporters, is announced with the support of Jo Brand, who will join walkers at the start in Batley, West Yorkshire for a spectacular community send off.
Jo Brand said: “I know these guys are going to have an incredible time on The Great Big Walk and I urge anyone who sees them to beep, honk, wave and clap to show you care. From all the way up in sunny Scotland right down to the coast of Cornwall, let’s see which town can give them the friendliest welcome (and the odd biscuit!). And if like me, your dog ate your trainers and your Lycra shorts are in the wash, then you can always plan a Big Lunch, invite your neighbours and just eat cake!”
Peter Stewart continued: “We want to help people get to know each other and hope to encourage more neighbours than ever to join in to support The Great Big Walk and take part in The Great Get Together celebrations with The Big Lunch. We need everyone to come together to support our walkers, stand together in their communities and cheer them on their way.”
The teams will travel home to five corners of the UK, finishing simultaneously on Sunday 18 June in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London. Every day, the walkers and their supporters will visit different community projects and initiatives and will spend time with the extraordinary people who go the extra mile to bring communities together.
Joe Ferns, Big Lottery Fund’s UK Knowledge & Portfolio Director said: “Thanks to money generated by National Lottery players, The Great Big Walk is connecting people and communities across the UK. We are excited to be inviting the walkers to visit some amazing projects, created by local people, and share their experiences with others.”
Olivia Cosgrove from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland is one of our walk leaders, and explained that she was inspired to walk by her experiences working on The Big Lunch in her area. She sees The Great Big Walk as ‘a storytelling pilgrimage’ with communities in Northern Ireland.
Olivia Cosgrove said: “I am excited about walking through England and Northern Ireland to meet ‘battery chargers’, all passionate about what they do, people who … are now having an impact on their communities. Their work is often a quiet but constant pulse steadily recharging the batteries of others. I want to meet, acknowledge and become inspired by these people. I want to carry their story to the next town, I know it will feed my journey.”
People can get involved in The Great Big Walk by showing support and cheering the walkers along their way. Or go for a stroll with a neighbour, a tour with the town or anything in between and join The Big Lunch on 18 June for the biggest community celebration the UK has ever seen.