The Big Lunch
What is the idea behind The Big Lunch?
The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours, an idea from the Eden Project made possible by the National Lottery. Anyone can take part. It started in 2009 from a simple premise – great things happen when you bring people together. Big Lunches encourage friendlier neighbourhoods and people taking part report feeling better about where they live and have a stronger sense of community following the event. The Big Lunch brings people together to have fun and make friends. Better connections build happier and healthier communities where people feel an increased sense of pride and belonging.
- 94% of people attending a Big Lunch believe it will have a positive effect on their community
- 88% feel better about where they live
- 90 % believe The Big Lunch brings different generations together
- 76 % of people that joined a Big Lunch felt closer to their neighbours as a result
- 79 % per cent socialising more with people in their community
- £8.8 million was raised by communities at Big Lunch events for things that matter to them
How easy is it to get involved?
It’s really easy to get involved and scalable to your ambitions. Watch our simple video that explains what a Big Lunch is and check out our free starter pack that we’ve designed to help people get their plans off the ground. A Big Lunch can be big or small – it’s everyone joining in across the UK together that makes The Big Lunch BIG! What matters is that when we share food, make friends and have fun, great things can happen.
How does The Big Lunch help to make communities more sustainable?
At The Big Lunch we encourage organisers to plan their events to make them more eco-friendly. This can also cut down cost and help people to get to know each other better in the process. The Big Lunch encourages sharing and using the resources they have already. Do you really need to go out and buy disposable tablecloths for your one-off event? We encourage people planning events to get creative. Replace table cloths with anything from old curtains to bed sheets that can be washed and used again, rather than throwing away lots of paper cloths. When it comes to crockery and cutlery: we suggest people bring their own along to cut down on paper plate and plastic cutlery waste, which can be difficult to recycle when covered in sticky jam! Better yet, we suggest serving finger food to cut down on the need for these items at all. Everything from making recycled material decorations to the best way to fight food waste – it’s all part and parcel of The Big Lunch ethos. The sharing economy and encouraging resourcefulness helps people to get to know each other better and this encourages more interaction and sharing behaviour long term too - with people helping each other out more being one of the many benefits of getting to know people locally and build resilience and sustainability in the longer term. Please take a look at our report (attached) that delves into this in more detail.
What are the benefits of connected communities?
The Big Lunch is an opportunity for people to build friendships and connections, which in turn creates stronger, happier communities. People are the key ingredient, with those taking part creating friendlier communities in which they start to share more, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources. Our research into the value of connected communities outline very clearly the benefits of improving the sense of connection with the people we live alongside. See attached research and press release for the short hand summary!
The relationships we have where we live and work have a major impact on our health and happiness — people actually live longer if they have more frequent social contact. It's not just health that improves as a result. Having lunch with your neighbours, for example, doesn’t sound like the obvious way to tackle crime, reduce loneliness and isolation or quell community tensions. But the people who take part in The Big Lunch tell us they feel less isolated, that they feel safer where they live, and that people from different backgrounds come together and become friends. The experience leads people to do more in their communities, with many people starting new initiatives to benefit their whole community as a result.
We know that connected communities can tackle challenges better when they tackle them together. We support the doers, the mucker inners, the DIYers who make good things happen and take action, no matter how little that action may be, because small steps make a big difference.
What are the plans for the big lunch moving forward?
The Big Lunch is our flagship initiative, but today we support an amazing network of everyday people doing extraordinary things —all over the UK. People are hosting Big Lunches and delivering ideas and projects that make a positive difference to the communities where they live. With over 90,000 Big Lunches in 2017 alone, and over 1,000 people through our Community Camps so far, we feel pretty hopeful about continuing the transformation! Our ambition is to increase participation in The Big Lunch in the UK and to continue that growth beyond the UK and around the world.
Find out how you can join in this year’s Big Lunch on Sunday June 3.
Creating sustainability champions of the future
Over the past decade, 40 Prologis developments have been certified by The Planet Mark™, which amounts to an overall reduction of over 250,000 tons of CO₂ – the equivalent of over 617 million miles driven by an average family vehicle.
However, this legacy of sustainable development is not limited to just owners or occupiers of a Prologis building. Being part of the local community is a core tenet of Prologis’ business philosophy and a key element in its sustainability programme. Prologis employees across the globe are committed to being good neighbours.
Recently, Prologis sustainability champions visited Hayes Meadow Primary School in Rugeley, with an education officer from the educational non-profit Eden Project to conduct a workshop about biodiversity and how to protect the planet. See how much the children learned in this video.
Contributing to the community: case study on Harrow Green
Download this free case study and read about Harrow Green’s exemplary strategy towards community engagement in sustainability.
5 key tips to running a meaningful community engagement programme
Sustainability is made up of a range of critical business considerations, traditionally comprised by the three broad areas of marketplace, workplace and the environment. However, in order to boast a truly all-encompassing sustainability programme, businesses must challenge the traditional model in which the first three areas are often considered obligatory and the fourth discretionary.
If your organisation is new to the process of engaging the community, here are our 5 key ways to running a meaningful community engagement programme:
1. Assign high-level and operational ownership
For any project to be successfully delivered someone must be responsible for it. Lack of ownership is where the green agenda often fails before it’s even started. With 51% of prospective employees stating they wouldn’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong social and environmental commitments, management need to talk to employees to find out what their expectations are for a community engagement programme, since they'll be a big part of executing it.
Volunteering shows that you are willing to give your time to be a part of something bigger than you or your business.Better than just volunteering by yourself would be to organise your employees to volunteer at an organisation together. The 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, which targeted employed adults aged 21-35 found that even if people do not generally volunteer in community engagement activities, the majority (61%) consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision. It is also an opportunity not only to develop staff skills, such as teamwork and communication, but to foster a sense of purpose and a positive culture within the company, increasing morale and motivation.
3. Have a presence at local events
Most communities host festivals or fêtes throughout the year. Events such as these are great opportunities to get out there and meet people. Set up a table, run special promotional activities and get to know the community. The Big Lunch (June 3rd) is a great example of an event that brings huge benefits to local communities. Tell your employees about it and find out how you can contribute as an organisation.
4. Make community activities exciting
To get the whole community involved in what you are doing, you have to make it exciting and provide people with an opportunity to get involved in making their area a better place to live. Honest face-to-face interaction between your employees and residents can help to build trust and forge new relationships.
5. Measure success
Success can be measured in a number of ways, including analysing participation rates from both employees and community members. However, the key results of your efforts will come to light in conversations with your employees and community partners, both of which are valuable sources for qualitative and quantitative feedback.
To drive ongoing success, meet regularly with community members and assess your approach, this will help identify problems and make adjustments if needed. It also provides an opportunity to uncover synergies that can be beneficial to your business.