The Big Lunch and The Big Jubilee Lunch were absolute crackers this year with huge numbers of people taking part in community events, many for the first time. But you don’t need to wait for a national celebration to get involved, there are lots of ways to keep the connections going.
Our very own Big Lunch Champion and Marketing Manager, Kate, has put together her top tips for you:
1. Send a Thank You note
If you held a Big Lunch or took part in one locally, why not send a little follow up note to your neighbours? Pop this image on your local Facebook page or WhatsApp group, or download and print a card to put through letterboxes. It’s a nice way to start the conversation about your next get together too.
2. Connect on the Nextdoor Network app
I’ve been using Nextdoor for years now and find it a really helpful way to keep up with local news and share things locally. As a parent to a toddler, we have a high turnover of stuff and the ‘For Sale and Free’ section is a great place for selling and getting hold of things you need more cheaply. I love how it helps prevent waste and spark little connections and conversations with locals. You can also set up groups and run polls – handy for planning your next event and finding dates that work for everyone!
3. Arrange a Playing Out session – the perfect summer holiday activity!
The bunting might be down, but if you’re keen to continue The Big Lunch vibe, organising a Play Street is great next step. In my area, neighbours are planning to close the road again at the beginning of September and repeat the fun of The Big Jubilee Lunch, just without the gazebos and tables. There will be bubbles, chalk, toys and games for the children to play with, whilst having a bit of a picnic together too.
Our friends at Playing Out have all the information and advice you need to go from street party to Play Street - and if it goes well, you might be able to make arrangements with your council to make it a regular affair.
4. Spread a little kindness
Our recent research into the impact of the cost of living crisis has shown that we’re all becoming more aware of the hardship faced by others in our community and that 14% of UK adults are concerned about their own welfare and food security. But it’s heartening to also learn that one in three people want to find ways to connect and support others locally.
I’ve already seen this generous spirit extended locally, with a friend dropping bags of fruit to us every Wednesday after his visit to the market. Another neighbour regularly cooks up a storm and shares her delicious dishes up and down the street. These edible acts of kindness are not only gratefully received, they make us feel more connected too.
But it needn’t involve food, simply bringing in the neighbours’ bin, offering to take their dog for a walk or watching their child for a bit are lovely ways to spread a little kindness - and without spending a penny.
5. Spread some cheer with chalk
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Grab some chalk and draw a hopscotch out on the street, write a positive message or sketch a picture for others to see. Watch people hop, skip, jump and smile. It’s amazing how being given permission to be playful sparks a little joy in us all.
6. Arrange a neighbourly walk
Nothing lifts my spirits more quickly than a good walk and talk. The very act of walking or cycling encourages positivity because we are literally making progress as we move. Just getting out in the evening, or in your lunch break if you’re working from home, always feels like a good thing to do and it’s a nice way to get to know a neighbour or two.