Big Lunch 2021 is nearly here

The Big Lunch is a National Lottery funded initiative, celebrating community connections and getting to know one another a little better.

This year there’s more reasons than ever to get together as The Big Lunch weekend  5-6 June kicks off a #MonthofCommunity Join in whenever suits you locally, whether that’s to say cheers to volunteers, connect with your neighbours or simply to say thank you. 

With just under three weeks left to go we’ve invited Grainne McCloskey – who is leading the Big Lunch in Northern Ireland – to tell us about her plans, and how you can join in online, on your doorstep or over the fence.

This past year has been a tough one.

I’ve found that I’ve been busier than ever this year despite the challenges.  Home working in lockdown was tough, like it has been for many people. My husband has Motor Neurone Disease and my teenage sons are both of exam age, so I can’t say the balancing act was easy and I’m much more appreciative of school and the routine it affords.

I don’t think anyone had a smooth ride over the last year and for some people the problems have only intensified, which is why it’s so important to be connected where we live, so that we can be a support and have people to turn to as well.

One of the few positives experienced during our lockdown restrictions was the bonds we developed whilst supporting the most vulnerable in our communities and looking out for our neighbours. 

Community activity flourished during one of the most isolating and difficult periods most of us will ever encounter in our lifetime. But as we emerge from lockdown, what can we all do to build on that community spirit and resilience, so that our communities are stronger?

The Big Lunch might seem like a few buns and a bit of fun, but it’s much, much more than that. It gives ordinary people like you and me a sense of permission to do more where we live, that in turn helps build communities and strengthens connections in our neighbourhoods between people of all ages. I hope more people take the opportunity to join in this year

Thanks to National Lottery players a Free Big Lunch starter pack full of tips and ideas can be found at

The #MonthofCommunity supports a number of charitable events throughout the summer.  Why not host a Big Lunch in support of one of these great causes?

• Volunteers Week 1-7 June

• The Big Lunch 5-6 June

• Neighbourhood Watch Week 5-11 June

 Carers Week 7-13 June

• Loneliness Awareness Week 14-18 June

• Refugee Week 14-20 June

• Small Charity Week 14-19 June

• The Great Get Together 18-20 June

• Thank You Day 4 July

We’d love to see how you choose to celebrate your community so please use #MonthofCommunity and #NationalLottery when sharing your Big Lunch posts on social media.  

The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project which has been made possible with funding thanks to The National Lottery players. Big Lunch weekend usually attracts millions of people across the UK. Last year over 6 million people took part in 100,000 social distanced and virtual Big Lunch events. 

For information on what’s happening more locally across Northern Ireland this year, be sure to follow the Big Lunch NI team on Facebook and Twitter.

Email any questions to

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