Thousands of people across Gloucestershire have been sitting down with their neighbours for the sixth annual Big Lunch.
They joined an estimated four million people across the UK.
The Big Lunch, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Eden Project, encourages people across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year, for a few hours of community, friendship and fun. Organisers behind the initiative say that the simple act of chatting to neighbours can make a real difference in communities and can help tackle isolation.
In Kingsway, Gloucester, hundreds of residents gathered for the fourth annual Big Lunch and brought food to share with their neighbours. The event also attended by several parish and country councillors, including Gloucester MP Richard Graham and there were lots of activities for people of all ages including a giant inflatable slide and a replica Ghostbusters car.
Dave Talbot, one of the organisers of The Big Lunch in Kingsway, said: “It’s gone fantastically well and everyone has had a cracking time. Hundreds of people came along and everyone’s enjoyed their lunch. We’ve had a DJ and a live band, fairground rides and local business stands. The weather is gorgeous, we couldn’t have asked for it to be any better than it is.”
Another of the Big Lunches that took place in Gloucestershire was a giant Big Lunch along Chipping Sodbury’s main street, which attracted several thousand people. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, there was a 1940s theme, with music, fancy dress and ration-style food, as well as face painting and dance performances.
Alexandra Womack, chairman of the committee that organise the Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch, said: “It’s been really busy, this is our third year and the busiest I’ve seen it. We couldn’t have hoped for better weather – the sun was out finally after a week of rain.
“We’ve had a 1940s vocal harmony trio doing wartime songs and later on we have Bristol Samba who went down an absolute storm last year. Lots of people have brought tables, chairs and gazebos and they’re all sitting down for sausage rolls, salads and various cakes. Everybody’s had a good time and they couldn’t believe how fantastic the weather was.”
People can still take part in the celebrations and can organise a Big Lunch at a date that suits the community. Free packs including posters, invitations, an inspiration booklet and other resources to help organise a Big Lunch are available from thebiglunch.com until the end of June 2014.