Organise a Commonwealth Big Lunch in 5 easy steps

People having a Big Lunch in a street lined with houses

The Big Lunch is the UK's annual get together for neighbours.  Since 2009, millions of people have joined in together with their neighbours in a nationwide act of community and friendship.

This year we're inviting people across the Commonwealth to join in to help us make 2018 the biggest and best year yet as we celebrate everything we have in common across our 53 nations.

Sign up to take part, and order your free commonwealth Big Lunch pack


Here are our top tips to help you organise your Commonwealth Big Lunch:

Choose a venue

Your Commonwealth Big Lunch can take place anywhere - in a house, community space, the street, a park, a school or neighbourhood centre.  Think about the weather and providing covered areas for shade or rain and seek permission for using the space if it is a public area.

Pick a date and spread the word

Commonwealth Big Lunches are happening all over the Commonwealth nations between 12 March and 22 April - pick a date that suits your community during this time or a different date if that works better for you.

Think about who you would like to invite.  Commonwealth Big Lunches are all about creating new connections with people - you could invite the neighbours in your street, join together with a local group or have an event that is open to the public.

Once you've decided who's coming, you can think about ways to get the word out to make people feel welcome.  Create some bright and friendly flyers and post them around your community.  Make invitations and ask for help - this encourages people to let you know they are coming, starts the conversation and helps organise the event!

Plan the food

Keep it simple.  A bring-your-own picnic is a good option as it requires little preparation in advance, or you could ask everyone to bring one dish to share.  That way you don't necessarily need to have confirmation of how many people are coming, as there is usually plenty of food to go round.  Take a look at some simple crowd-pleasing recipes that some regular Big Lunchers have tried and tested.

Get local support

Don't be afraid to get out and about to see what people can offer for your Commonwealth Big Lunch.  Local cafes, shops and businesses may be able to lend you things such as tables and chairs, donate food and drink and even donate prizes for a raffle.  You'll be amazed at how generous local people are if you just ask!

Make it a celebration

Commonwealth Big Lunches are about celebrating being part of the Commonwealth, encouraging people to come together and making new connections.

Put up some decorations and create some fun games to help people get to know one another and think about how you can make your Commonwealth Big Lunch a welcoming space for everyone, young and old.

Add a little music and dancing, skill sharing, games, tasty food and a few new friends and you have a party!  Take plenty of photos and, most importantly, have fun!

After the party

Once the bunting is down and the tables folded away, don't forget to share your story.  We'd love to hear all about it, so hashtag #CommonwealthBigLunch and share on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Keep your eyes on your inbox for our annual survey too!