The Big Lunch brings millions of people together across the UK to share food and fun on the first weekend in June every year.
It’s true to say that 2020 didn’t turn out quite like we (or anyone else!) had expected but community spirit shone bright in every corner of the UK in so many different ways. The Big (Virtual) Lunch became a special moment for us to celebrate our communities and give thanks to our neighbours, friends, and those near to us for their help, support and smiles, through difficult times.
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…
Despite the difficulties the UK was facing during this time, over 4 million people took part in The Big Virtual Lunch, over the phone, online or on their doorsteps!
The number of Big Lunch activities and events more than doubled to over 187,000 across the UK with attendees citing that they wanted to help bring their community together and thank neighbours and community members for being there during the crisis.
Our research from 2020 tells an interesting story of the importance of community connection with 91% of attendees saying The Big Lunch was just the kind of event that people needed at this time of Coronavirus; around 3.6m attendees saying it helped cheer people up; 84% of attendees telling us it made them feel less lonely and 86% said it helped to bring people from different ethnic backgrounds together.
We believe that connected communities are stronger communities, and that together we are more able to face the local and global challenges ahead of us.
We’re absolutely delighted that for many communities the impact of The Big Lunch will have an ongoing positive effect, with 85% of attendees telling us that The Big Lunch helped create a stronger sense of community spirit, 3.3million attendees saying they feel closer to their neighbours and 81% saying they were more likely to get involved in community activities as a result.
The ambition from the start was to create a moment in the national calendar - a 'Thanksgiving Day for neighbours'. Behind the cupcakes and the bunting there is a growing movement of ordinary people choosing to make connections and positive changes in their communities.
Every single Big Lunch is different, and it really does reach into every type of community.
Find out more about The Big Virtual Lunch impact here with our infographic.
The Big Lunch provides a simple platform on 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, and we offer continued support through our Eden Project Communities Network, Community Camps and online workshop series.