The Big Lunch have just announced their team for 2019 who will be leading a two-week community walk taking place across the nation between 17 May and 2 June.
Laura Graham from Northampton and Carole Wright from London are the England team; two of the eight walkers that make up the four teams, one from each nation, stepping out across the UK aiming to shine a light on people who bring their community closer together.
Throughout their 17-day journey, walkers will visit communities meeting and chatting with people to celebrate the positive impact of collaborative projects and neighbourhood activities, and inviting everyone to share food, make friends and have fun together through The Big Lunch on 1 and 2 June.
Carole (right), from Brixton, will be joining a team of other carefully chosen community advocates to join The Big Lunch community walk 2019. She wants to show the importance of communication and how it can bring about positive change. She said: “I want promote the simple act of walking and talking as a point of accessibility, which aren’t dependant on social, cultural or financial status in society”.
Embarking on the challenge with her Laura, from Northampton, said: “Now, more than ever, we need to create connected communities in order to reduce loneliness and social isolation. Helping to do that through The Big Lunch community walk is a real honour”.
Organised by the Eden Project and funded in part by the National Lottery, the initiative was started in 2009 as an experiment to encourage people to have lunch with their neighbours on one Sunday in June. By 2017 there were over 90,000 organised events with an estimated 9.3million people taking part across the country.
Their aim is to bring communities closer together, with their own research showing that 1 in 5 people in the UK have never spoken to their neighbours.
Earlier this year The Big Lunch released a new report ‘Closing the Distance’ that revealed disconnection in communities is accelerating, compounded by a 4,000 strong Onepoll survey that showed three quarters (72%) of the UK population don’t feel they know their neighbours well, compared with (76%) of the population who felt it would be better for communities if everyone did.
They say that the widening gap between people and their neighbours is damaging the public’s mental health and lowering the effectiveness of a community response when a crisis occurs.
It isn’t just lunches that the Project helps to organise. They also support over 1,000 community lead projects across the country all with the overarching aim to increase people’s sense of community.
It is thorough this drive that the community walk was born, the four teams will lead the way (literally) through their respective nation. Signalling a step change in efforts to increase community connection, Peter Stewart Executive Director, Eden Project said:
“Our amazing walkers are heading out to connect with people at the heart of the UK’s communities and inviting everyone to take a simple step to come together for a Big Lunch. We know there is appetite to close the distance and get to know each other better, so why wait?”
If you want to find out more: www.edenprojectcommunities.com
To get involved with the community walk: click here
Or to organise a Big Lunch: click here
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