This year, Big Lunch organisers in Northern Ireland have the opportunity to win £50 of food vouchers to get their event off to a great start - and they want to hear from the Ballymoney and Moyle area.
The Big Lunch, made possible by the National Lottery, happens every year on the first Sunday in June, but this year there is an extra early bird opportunity for people in the Ballymoney area to participate.
Between Commonwealth Day, which was on March 12, and April 22, people across six continents are getting their communities together to celebrate commonality and diversity with Commonwealth Big Lunches.
Already 115 communities across Northern Ireland have registered, with more registrations coming in every day.
To get the planning kick-started, The Eden Project, the team behind The Big Lunch, is giving away £50 food vouchers to a limited number of people across Northern Ireland who are hosting Commonwealth Big Lunches between now and Sunday, April 22.
This initiative builds on The Eden Project’s annual Big Lunch, funded by the National Lottery, which launched in 2009 as a way for communities to connect over a shared meal. It has since seen millions of people get involved. The Big Lunch will take place later on this year, on Sunday 3 June.
Grainne McCloskey, the main Northern Ireland contact for The Big Lunch and Eden Project Communities said: “The Big Lunch is simple. Everyone brings something, but it takes one person to knock a neighbour’s door and get the ball rolling.
“It doesn’t need to cost a lot of money; it’s a lot of fun when everyone plays a part by bringing something to the table. But this year we want to reward those early birds who might inspire others, with £50 vouchers to kick off their Commonwealth Big Lunch.”
Karin Eyben got the ball rolling on Rasharkin’s first Big Lunch last year to boost community spirit in the area.
Big Lunch organiser Karin said: “As someone living in the Rasharkin area, and as a long term blow-in, I know it’s so important for people who don’t quite belong to feel included in a wider community.
“People’s lives are so busy and often so compartmentalized, structured by membership of different groups and churches that there really aren’t many opportunities to come together with the commonality of sharing the same piece of land and space. So the Big Lunch gave us that opportunity to come together with new circles.”
You can apply for a £50 food and materials voucher if:
You live in Northern Ireland. You are hosting a Commonwealth Big Lunch for more than 10 people, before the 22 April 22. OR, if you plan to have a Big Lunch in June and are using your Commonwealth Big Lunch as a community
preparation session, with more than 10 people getting together to make decorations, bunting, welcome signs, etc.