Alison backs the ‘Big Lunch’

Alison O'Neill (right)pictured at a celebration event for Big Lunch organisers in Belfasts Harbour Commissioners office.
Alison O'Neill (right)pictured at a celebration event for Big Lunch organisers in Belfasts Harbour Commissioners office.

Disconnected communities cost Northern Ireland £1.69 billion per year, according to a new study commissioned by Eden Project Communities and 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 Big Lottery Fund and will take place this year in June.

Randalstown resident Alison O’Neill started getting interested in bringing her community together last year and held her first ever Big Lunch with neighbours on her street. She said even though the event was small, it made a difference to her, and the neighbourhood now feels safer, friendlier, and a happier place to live.

Alison said: “The estate I live in isn’t very old so we are having to build up community spirit here from scratch. Most people go from work to home to looking after children, and that’s it. We never meet anyone else. We held our first Big Lunch last year in September and it was lovely. I met several neighbours I’d never had a chance to speak to before and we ate lunch and talked together and became friends. The difference it is making is huge, to me. I feel like people look out for each other more now. I feel like I’m part of a community instead of just a collection of houses.”

For more information on how to get involved visit www.edenprojectcommunities/thebiglunch or contact gmccloskey@edenproject.com