Each year, The Big Lunch brings millions of people together across the UK to celebrate their neighbours and community on the first weekend in June. All made possible by The National Lottery. This year however, like so many things, has been slightly different.
After 18 months of lockdowns, staying in our bubbles, and seeing people from afar, The Big Lunch became a special moment for us to support our communities, thank our neighbours and lift spirits after lockdown.
With changing guidelines and different restrictions across the four nations, The Big Lunch adjusted to suit, as an amazing 9 million of us gathered online, on doorsteps and for safely distanced street parties, to get to know our neighbours a little better. We also teamed up with good causes across the UK to celebrate summer 2021 with a whole Month of Community (more on this to come in a week or so!).
Independent research carried out every year, helps us understand the impact The Big Lunch is having across the UK. Here's some of what we found out...
The Big Lunch is getting bigger!
9 million people took part in The Big Lunch in 2021, one of our biggest ever years! The number of Big Lunch activities and events across the UK increased to 216,000, with 77% of attendees saying that The Big Lunch was just what was needed after more than a year of Covid.
In fact, there have now been over 1 million Big Lunches across the UK since we started in 2009!
The Big Lunch brings people together.
77% of Big Lunchers now feel closer to their neighbours, with 79% stating that the event has helped create a stronger sense of community spirit.
Not only that, but The Big Lunch has created a sense of togetherness, with 6.8m people saying that they feel they belong more in their community, and a fantastic 6.4m new friendships were made as a result of The Big Lunch!
It attracts people from all walks of life, with 70% of attendees saying that The Big Lunch is a good way of bringing people with different views and outlooks together. Every single Big Lunch is different, and it really does reach into every type of community.
The Big Lunch makes a difference.
Although not officially a fundraiser event, many Big Lunches hold raffles, cake sales or donation boxes. In 2021, a whopping £7.4million was raised at Big Lunch events, the majority of which (77%) is for local charities or causes, staying with the communities who need it.
The Big Lunch showcases the importance of community connections with 7 million attendees saying that The Big Lunch helped them feel less lonely. 80% said that it helped cheer people up, and 66% said it helps bring people from different ethnic backgrounds together.
The Big Lunch empowers communities to have agency and take action, with 75% of attendees saying they're more likely to get involved in community activities after attending a Big Lunch, and 72% saying they would get more involved in voluntary work.
We're so proud of the impact The Big Lunch has made to communities right across the UK in the last 13 years. it provides a simple platform from which other things can grow, from informal friendships, fun, and conversations on the day, to tackling broader issues that may affect a street or neighbourhood.
Behind the cupcakes and the bunting there is a growing movement of ordinary people choosing to make connections and positive changes in their communities.
We believe that connected communities are stronger communities, and that together we are more able to face the local and global challengers ahead of us. We offer continued support for anyone wishing to do more in their communities through our Community Camps, our Eden Project Communities Network and our online workshop series, so join us as we make a change together.
And of course, none of this would be possible without support from The National Lottery Community Fund, so a BIG thank you to them!