What a whirlwind of a year it’s been for all of us, it just whizzed by! 2019 probably won’t be remembered as a great vintage for many of us, but it hasn’t been without its high points either.

  • Your peer to peer Eden Project Communities network continues to grow and enable real social capital
  • There were over 100,000 Big Lunches, with 4.7 million new friendships as a result
  • 4.5 million say The Big Lunch helped them feel less lonely
  • Over £8 million was raised for local charities at Big Lunches
  • AND the year isn’t over yet as our #ThereForMe social media campaign encourages us all to thank the people who help us locally (please join in)

We thank you for everything you do in collaboration with Eden Project Communities and The Big Lunch and for every action you take for your community.

Warmest wishes and gratitude, Niamh and Grainne


Wild Women of the Woods - 21 December

Join Rachael Pedder as she launches Wild Women of the Woods NI with it’s first ever event. A celebration to welcome back the light on the winter solstice, and connect with nature and other women in Tollymore Forest. You can stay overnight or just come for the day!

Winter Solstice at the Mill - 21 December

Join us as we celebrate the shortest day of the year and look forward to the brighter days ahead. If you are a friend or supporter of what we do here we would love you to join us for mulled apple juice and toasted marshmallows around a fire.

South Belfast lantern parade -  22 December 4.15pm

Come along with friends and family of all ages to the sixth South Belfast lantern parade in Botanic Gardens. Dress brightly, to light yourself up as a Christmas spectacle or simply don your seasonal colours.

Lend your support to network members Eileen Chan Hu, Jennifer Mcquillan, and Toni Campbell, by offering help or simply turning up and joining in the parade through Botanic Park with a community celebration in the Ulster Museum at the end. Workshops will be 11am-4pm. Find out more here.

So What? - A night of comedy and connection - 10 January 8pm

This event is a collaboration from inspiring people in our network who are working in innovative projects for positive change in their area, anywhere across Northern Ireland and beyond.

We encourage a diverse range of attendees from all backgrounds, with projects from idea stage to fully established organisations. The purpose is to connect, share, test new ideas and to motivate each other. To relax and enjoy the company of inspiring ‘can-do’ people.

We’ll follow with some speed networking and then the rest of the evening to enjoy refreshments. You can register to join us for this event, here


Good luck to all who applied for the National Lottery 25th birthday fund, let us know if you get lucky! 

All ongoing funding opportuinties are shared daily - visit The Big Lunch Northern Ireland on Facebook and ask to join our community.


Free series of adaptable resources #iwillfornature

Calling all educators and organisations working with young people! Here's a free series of adaptable resources to support you with taking environmental social action. Complete with curriculum links it encourages and supports young people to get the most out of helping nature to thrive.

Investigating the cost of living with food allergies/intolerances/coeliac disease

Safefood, and researchers from the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin, formerly DIT) and Queen’s University Belfast are investigating the cost of living with food allergies/intolerances/coeliac disease on the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland) today. Learn more and/or to complete this survey (10 -15 minutes) here.

*Please note this survey is anonymous and cannot be traced back to any computer IP address. Upon completion, participants will have the option of submitting their email address for a lottery prize draw for one of 5 x €100/£100 ‘One4All’ vouchers. This email address cannot be linked to any submitted survey data. To take part you need to be aged 18 years or older and be a resident in Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland.

Belfast Community Planning Partnership need you

NICVA is seeking nominations for representatives to sit on a new VCSE Sectoral Advisory Panel being established by the Belfast Community Planning Partnership. Completed nomination forms should be submitted to NICVA no later than Friday 31 January 2020.

Network round up 

  • James Hunter and Laura Mashal launched Wild at Heart events and you can find out about upcoming events here Their Christmas clay bake saw families create their own treats and decorations in a wood fired clay oven at Helen's Bay Organic Farm. The children decorated their creations and baked them in the clay oven, out in the fresh air, with a warm fire and the comforting smells of Christmas, ending up under the stars after sunset, with candle light - a magical end to the beautiful experience.
  • Patricia McQuillan and D3MAC in Dunclug held a good old fashioned Christmas event, to make paper decorations and paper chains. Carol singing and tombola for a bit of fun and to create some much needed funds.
  • Harpers Yard Claire Ellis and Martina Klapova held a fundraising event in aid of NI children’s hospice on 15 December at the bowling pavilion, Ormeau Park, Park Road.
  • Christine Mccarthy Repair Cafe Belfast had it’s usual monthly event and it’s second birthday so there was even more cake, sewing skills activities, sustainable crafts and always all the craic.
  • Leo at Loveworks tells us the Community café held its Christmas Fair, which was packed out and brought together people from all over north Belfast and beyond. There were lots of local artists and craftspeople, amazing local musicians, delicious food, bread and cakes, and kids crafts, all celebrating what is best about the north Belfast community.
  • Nandi Jola held Refugee awareness days with several other network members, and a solidarity walk on 7 December, with a communal meal at Mornington Community Project Ormeau Road.
  • Barbara Donnelly Cloughmills Community Action Team tells us its been a busy month of community activity and there's time for you to join in on the 22 December for a celebration at solstice to help people look forward to the brighter days ahead, with mulled apple juice and toasted marshmallows around a fire.