The Eden Project
The Big Lunch - an Eden Project

Big Lunch bringing communities togetherWhy we started it

The Eden Project started The Big Lunch in the belief that we, as a society, are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face when we face them together.

Recent studies show that communities across the UK are more fragmented and provide a lower sense of belonging than 40 years ago.*

The Big Lunch aims to show how the simple first step of sharing lunch together can start to change how people feel as part of their wider community.


*Dorling (2008) Changing UK- The way we live now

The thinking behind The Big Lunch

  • By simply having some fun with our neighbours on one day in the summer, we can build new friendships that we can enjoy for the rest of the year.
  • The Big Lunch is a chance for neighbours from different generations and backgrounds to hear each other out and share stories, skills and interests. We call this phenomenon ‘human warming’.
  • In getting to know who you live beside we can build support networks and contacts that make communities stronger and the people in them feel better about society.
  • Big Lunch day is just the start – it’s how people work together in their communities afterwards that really makes the difference.

Take a look at our short film below to see the beginnings of The Big Lunch in 2009.

When doors open up, people open up and neighbourhoods – from tiny hamlets to huge council estates – open up.

Feeding community spirit

The Big Lunch Feeding Community Spirit is a report written by the Local Government Information Unit discussing the social impact of The Big Lunch. It found:

  • The Big Lunch idea appeals to something that we all feel intuitively – that it feels right to know who we live beside and that we can gain a sense of well-being from being connected to our communities.
  • Making these connections helps to build social capital – the idea that interactive networks between people have great value – and that social capital can help us all face society’s bigger challenges.
  • The Big Lunch is inclusive to all communities and is helping to build social capital in the areas where it is needed most.

Download a full copy of The Big Lunch Feeding Community Spirit here.

Make social isolation history

Many of us in the UK lead lonely lives, and The Big Lunch can be a great excuse to get out and meet the people who we share a street, road, estate or block of flats with.

Statistics on social isolation

The stats don’t make easy reading but if we want to turn them around, we need to see them:

  • Two million more single-person households by 2019.
  • More rich, poor and ethnic ghettos than ever before.
  • 7% annual drop in trust between neighbours from 2003-05.
  • Social trust in the UK halved and now among the lowest in Europe.

Why we need to get together

You might think a street party is the last thing you’d do to tackle crime, domestic violence, homelessness or children in poverty. But, it really can be the start of facing up to some tough issues.

Big Lunch gallery

Two men enjoying a pint at a Big Lunch

See great photos of Big Lunches across the UK and beyond.

See the gallery

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Street Party History

Two ladies eating lunch at a Big Lunch in London 2010

We have a long tradition of celebrating with our neighbours

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