Funding boost for street parties



Written by Gillian Provan.

Published at 14:24 on 5 June 2015


Scottish Government



The Big Lunch.

A project that last year encouraged over 400,000 Scottish people to share lunch with their neighbours has been awarded Scottish Government funding to help more communities be involved in this year’s events.

Big Lunch Scotland will receive almost £50,000 to give communities the chance to apply for a grant that could go towards food, insurance, outdoor games or furniture to host their own get-together.

From now until September, communities who may have faced barriers to taking part in the past will be able to apply for grants of up to £150.

The Big Lunch is the Eden Project’s annual UK-wide event aimed at building community spirit and getting neighbours talking. While events kick off on June 7, communities are encouraged to run events throughout the summer.

In addition, the Scottish Government funding will also offer grants of up to £500 to help support participants of the Big Lunch Extra Programme develop ideas in their community such as cookery classes, babysitting services or community cinemas.

Minister for Community Empowerment Marco Biagi met with Edinburgh and Midlothian Big Lunch organisers and their neighbours to officially open the new funding schemes.

He said: “Around 400,000 Scottish people – including me - took part in The Big Lunch last year, and I hope the Scottish Government’s funding boost of nearly £50,000 will make it possible for even more people to take part over the summer.

“We’re often guilty of not making enough time to get to know the people who live next door to us, never mind the ones who live down the street. The Big Lunch is a simple way to reconnect with our neighbours and is having a powerful impact on communities.

“From the people I’ve met who have attended Big Lunches in the past it’s clear to see the benefits of this annual event. People feel more involved their community, they have a stronger sense of community spirit and they feel less isolated.

“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of empowering communities and giving them the confidence to shape their own futures. These grants will remove financial barriers and will make sure everyone has an opportunity to be involved in The Big Lunch.”

Feedback from the 2014 Big Lunch found that 97 per cent of people who took part would recommend the event to their friends, and 84 per cent said it made them feel better about their neighbourhood.

Emily Watts, Campaign Manager for The Big Lunch in Scotland, said: “We always say that you don’t need much money to hold a Big lunch when everyone brings something to the table and that is still true – but there are times when a small amount of help can mean the difference between your community getting involved and not.

“To be eligible you need to be able to tell us how you would use the grant to enable your community or street to take part, and what barriers it would help to overcome. For existing Big Lunch participants, you must be able to tell us how you will engage a new section of the community with the grant.”