Focus firmly on the environment at this year’s ‘Big Lunch’ in Hazelbank

Margaret Cunningham pictured with local children at a previous community event in Hazelbank.
Margaret Cunningham pictured with local children at a previous community event in Hazelbank.

This year’s annual Big Lunch at Habinteg Community at Hazelbank is shaping up to a major eco-friendly event, with numerous organisations now on board to help promote initiatives, everyone can get involved in.

Organiser Margaret Cunningham said she was delighted with the response from other organisations to this year’s very topical Big Lunch, which takes place at Habinteg House, Farland Way on Monday, June 24 at 3pm.

Habinteg Housing Community Assistant Margaret said: “There is a drive and a great interest among people over what we can do to help the planet, and I think that it has to start locally. Quite often we hear things coming from the top and it can go over our heads a wee bit, but if you take it down to the nitty gritty of what we can do ourselves; put it into practice and involve our children, because they are growing up in this and it is very important for them to learn, it has a bigger impact.”

In the run up to the Big Lunch, Margaret is facilitating a ‘Seed to Plate’ programme whereby children work with a garden facilitator, with funding provided by the Neighbourhood Health Improvement Project. “They are planting seeds, growing their vegetables and herbs and particularly for children, if they are involved it gives them a bit of ownership and responsibility about how to look after things. And they are more likely to eat the produce as well.”

Keeping with the theme, online invites will be issued instead of paper ones and Keep NI Beautiful are supplying materials for Margaret and volunteers to keep the Farland Way area tidy over the next few years.

Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environmental team of Julie Hannaway and Leeann Carlin, have also come onboard and will have a stall on the day, while the council has provided free compost.

There will be other stallholders with eco-friendly merchandise and Jacqui Loughrey from the Pink Ladies will speak about chemicals in products.

Ruth O’Callaghan from the UseLess Shop on Society Street will also have a stall. “Ruth has also been very proactively in helping provide eco bricks for the children planting out,” Margaret said, adding: ”Carmel Mulrine from Zero Waste North West has also been exceptionally good and has also given me some herbs and shrubs for the gardening project.

Throught the Council, Sustrans - who have been involved in developing greenways across the city and district - has also come onboard, and will be present to issue advice and will also be bringing a bike doctor on the day.

There will be furniture and furnishings upcycling demos, and facilitators helping children discover what can be made from plastic bags, cardboard ends and household waste, as well as outdoor activities. There will also be a ‘give a take’ Clothes Swap, while the children will also be making their own decorations ahead of the event.