• Love Ballymena

Sow the seeds of friendship across Northern Ireland with The Big Lunch 2021

During Mental Health Awareness Week 10 – 16 May, The Big Lunch is encouraging people across Northern Ireland to sow seeds of friendship with The Big Lunch.

As we move to fewer restrictions and ease our way out of lockdown The Big Lunch will be focused not on the larger events we are used to but instead helping encourage individuals to make connections crucial to help reduce feelings of isolation and nervousness as we return to community activity.

Connection is crucial for communities; it ensures that people around us are not feeling isolated or lonely and it helps to nurture relationships allowing neighbourliness to blossom.

However, the ability to meet with others for the first time in months and the increased social interaction may take some getting used to. New research by The Eden Project Big Lunch in Northern Ireland reveals that:

22% of people in NI are worried about their ability to re-adjust to normal levels of social interaction again

Grainne McCloskey, Northern Ireland Manager, The Big Lunch, says:

“We are asking people in Northern Ireland to participate in The Big Lunch with acts of friendship this June. We can all play a part in easing out of lockdown safely, supporting our neighbours and reaching out to help rebuild community connections which will help ease loneliness and isolation.

“If everyone was to carry out one act of friendship where we live, whether that is to invite a few neighbours to lunch in the garden or park, organise something as a community group or to use your lunch break for acts of kindness and friendship, we could make all the difference to those around us.

“We are already identifying the negative mental health impact of lockdown, but are we all taking steps to support each other? We would love to see people growing their connections and we have some lovely free cornflower seed packs available to grow and share locally with neighbours.”

You can join in at

The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project, partnered by The National Lottery and supported by Iceland Foods, kicks off on 5 June and is running throughout the month to allow people to join in however and whenever works for you.

Sign up for your free cornflower seeds and information pack at or Text your name, address and email to 07703189048.

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