Derry showed what community spirit was all about this week as representatives from community organisations across the North West congregated on the Peace Bridge for the launch of the Big Lunch 2014.
The groups were joined by Derry’s Deputy Mayor, Alderman Gary Middleton, Grainne McCloskey, from The Big Lunch, and Peter Osborne, Big Lottery Fund Chair.
Welcoming the community representatives, Alderman Middleton said: “Building on the phenomenal success of 2013 City of Culture year, we are delighted to host the Northern Ireland launch of the Big Lunch, the annual UK-wide celebration of neighbourhood.
“We would encourage residents and community leads from the North West and across Northern Ireland to get involved and join The Big Lunch on Sunday, June 1.
“The City of Derry-Londonderry will host Big Lunches along the Derry City Marathon route/City Walls on June 1 as a way to bring the supporters together. The Marathon is one of the Legacy projects from 2013 and we are delighted as we prepare to deliver our 2014 Legacy promise that we can incorporate the Big Lunch as a part of it. I would encourage you all to come out and support both events and meet a range of people from communities across the city.”
Spokesperson for The Big Lunch, Grainne McCloskey, said: “The Big Lunch is funded by Big Lottery and sponsored by ASDA, Halifax and B&Q Streetclub. It was started by the Eden Project in the belief that we, as a society, are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face when we face them together.
“On the first Sunday in June each year, neighbours turn off the TV and get together for a few hours. This simple act of community spirit leads to good conversations and is helping build stronger more resilient communities. Residents can change their neighbourhoods for good, discover common ground across age, class, gender, faith, race and the garden fence but most importantly it can embrace those people who feel disconnected from meaningful relationships within their own communities.
“The people of the North West are amongst the friendliest in the world but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to work at strengthening our neighbourhoods, so I hope plenty of folk join with us this year and host a Big Lunch of their own.”
Peter Osborne, Big Lottery Fund’s NI Committee member, said: “This year, The Big Lunch will be bridging friendships between neighbours in cities and villages across Northern Ireland and the UK. I am delighted to be in Derry-Londonderry to celebrate the launch of this year’s Big Lunch and hope it continues to bring people together and help kick start good local conversations.”
Getting your own Big Lunch off the ground is simple and inexpensive. In 2013, more than 3.65 million people took part across the UK, including thousands in Northern Ireland.
Join in and show the rest of the UK just how friendly communities in Northern Ireland are. Request your free pack from http://www.thebiglunch.com and join the millions of neighbours sitting down to lunch together in their communities on Sunday, June 1.