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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Get involved in the BIG LUNCH and share kindness, reduce loneliness and build community spirit!

The Big Lunch weekend will be taking place 5th and 6th June and this year there are more reasons than ever to get together for community, friendship and fun. We are emerging from tough times and getting involved is a brilliant way to ease back into socialising and keeping community spirit alive!

New research reveals more than half of the UK population has some anxiety about socialising without restrictions, with 10% going as far as to say they are scared.

While being able to meet up with family and friends for the first time in months will be a relief for many, the increased social interaction will take some getting used to.

People living in Northern Ireland feel least anxious with 63% having identified as feeling excited or relieved about the end of restrictions.

The survey also found that 22% of people in Northern Ireland are worried about their ability to readjust to normal levels of social interaction again with 11% concerned they have forgotten how to have a proper conversation.

The research conducted in April 2021 suggests high levels of re-entry anxiety and concerns about our ability to socialise as we come out of the latest lockdown period. However, despite respondents worrying about socialising with large groups or in crowded places, the one positive found in the research is that three quarters of the population are comfortable meeting smaller groups locally for picnics or community BBQs.

Grainne McCloskey from Glenarm is Northern Ireland manager for The Big Lunch created by the Eden Project and said:

“This year, there are so many people feeling vulnerable about getting back out in our communities, we can all do a little bit to help encourage and ease that nervousness. I encourage everyone to register your commitment to take part in The Big Lunch and do something positive however small to connect people where you live. From a cupcake with a neighbour to a community litter pick, decorated street or social distanced lunch, everything goes.

“We can all take part and help build back community where we live. There are now more reasons than ever to make time for each other. So let kindness shine, share thanks and have some fun with The Big Lunch 2021.”

The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project, supported by The National Lottery and Iceland Foods, attracts millions of people across the UK each year.

This year in Northern Ireland you are invited to connect and be kind, as a neighbour or as part of a group over that weekend or any time throughout June. The choice is yours – online, over the fence, on your doorstep or street.

If you would like to get involved – register your interest and avail of the gift of a Growing Connections seed pack as a little thank you for being amongst the first to show interest to participate in Northern Ireland. With 240 seeds per pack there is enough to grow and share locally if you’d like!

Some ideas people are already sharing involve using lunchtime for good deeds, having a neighbourly cuppa in the garden, or at the door, organising virtual lunches and door step treat deliveries. Others are supporting neighbours in little ways, with positivity pebbles and posters, getting creative dressing up the street, yarn bombing, sharing plants and gifting window boxes, litter picking and weeding areas that have become neglected. These are just some of the things we have heard of so far from across Northern Ireland, but what you do is up to you!

The current global health crisis has impacted us all in different ways, as we move forward, there is a need for us to continue the kind and positive actions that got us through lockdown. People need connection. Please do what you can to reach out where you live and let us know your plans and how it goes.

Register FREE today

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