Thursday, 8 May 2014

North Berwick kids learn chatty streets are happy streets

A special story-telling session organised by East Lothian Libraries and The Big Lunch was held for local children in North Berwick Library on 7th May, and attended by local Councillor and Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, Tim Day.  The children listened to ‘George and Flora’s Big Party’ – an Eden Project book based on The Big Lunch concept – about neighbourly get-togethers and how getting to know your neighbours makes people happier, as well as enjoying a sing song and party treats.Councillor Tim Day, said: “It has been lovely to come along to the session today and see the children learning about being active in the community. “The Big Lunch is a very simple concept but its having big impacts on communities up and down the country. I’d encourage more neighbours in North Berwick and throughout East Lothian to get involved and start organising Big Lunches this June. They certainly don’t have to be big or flashy events; it’s the act of coming together as a community that’s the important part.” 
The Big Lunch – the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours - is funded by The Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax, ASDA and StreetClub by B&Q. Now in its sixth year, the simple idea from the Eden Project aims to provide neighbours with an opportunity to get to know one another better. The Big Lunch happens on the first Sunday in June each year – this year Sunday 1 June.
In 2013 over 3.65 million people took part in Big Lunches across the UK, including thousands from Scotland, who held street parties, picnics in the park and community hall gatherings. This year, The Big Lunch in Scotland has partnered with the Scottish Libraries and Information Council to help encourage more Scottish communities to take part.

 Area Librarian, Trina Gavan, said: “Libraries are a community hub and an important resource for people to find out about what’s happening locally. We identify with the community ethos behind The Big Lunch and are very happy to team up this year, helping to organise this session. Hopefully it’s encouraged our library users to get involved and start planning their own events in the area too.”

 Research released by The Big Lunch earlier this month found that speaking to our neighbours makes us happier, with seven in ten of us claiming that a simple conversation with a neighbour makes us feel more in touch with the rest of our community. But the research highlights that there is more to be done when it comes to making small talk with our neighbours as one in twenty say they have never engaged in small talk with a neighbour, while another one in twenty admits it’s been years. Neighbours in East Lothian and across Scotland are being encouraged to host a Big Lunch event in their communities to spread small talk further and build community bonds.

Anyone who is interested can get started by requesting a free Big Lunch pack from to get events off the ground. Packs contain invitations and posters to adapt for your community, as well as seeds, a bunting template and an inspiration booklet with lots of ideas and information.

All pack materials are undated so communities can have Big Lunches when best suits them if they can’t join in on Sunday 1 June. For more information, please contact Emma at The Big Lunch in Scotland on or 0141 559 5066.


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