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Older Generation Shares Importance of Community to Combat Loneliness

With just under one month to go now until neighbours across Wales and the UK come together for The Big Lunch on Sunday 3 June.

The Big Lunch brings people together to have fun and make friends. An idea from Eden Project Communities Wales, made possible by the National Lottery, The Big Lunch helps create better connections and builds happier and healthier communities where people feel an increased sense of pride and belonging.

To mark the countdown, five young people were paired up with five older generation people who are involved in holding Big Lunches for the first time this year.

They were put through their paces with a cookery workshop from Welsh Food and Drink expert Sian B Roberts from lovingwelshfood.com at Groundwork Wales kitchen space in Blackwood. They worked together to create a tasty, cost effective Welsh lunch for them all to share – so that they could get to know each other and have fun during the process.

With loneliness an increasing epidemic, more likely to affect young people, the event aims to show the younger generation the importance of getting involved in their own communities, to connect with people and help combat these feelings.

The Big Lunch is an opportunity for people to build friendships and connections, which in turn creates stronger, happier communities. Last year 9.3 million people took part in over 96,000 events across the UK sharing food and friendship.

Lowri Jenkins, Eden Communities Wales, said:

“People are the key ingredient; people who take part in The Big Lunch help create friendlier communities and then start to share more, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources. This is a concept that many of the older generation have embraced, while younger people may not realise the vital role that their local community can play in improving a sense of belonging and well-being.

“Big Lunches encourage friendlier neighbourhoods and people taking part report feeling better about where they live and have a stronger sense of community following the event.”

Glenys Vandervolk, from Cardiff who is holding her first Big Lunch this year said:

“I am hoping to show the next generation the importance of reaching out and getting to know those around you. I’ve made so many wonderful friends, literally in my own back yard and have shared so much laughter as a result. It is also reassuring to know that if I ever need any help, there is always someone there close by.”

The Big Lunch is inviting people to take part this year and host their own Big Lunch in their neighbourhood or community on Sunday 3 June.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the Big Lunch, or holding their own event, the Eden Project team have created some lovely ideas, hints and tips in a FREE starter pack that anyone can get their mitts on at TheBigLunch.com, all made possible thanks to National Lottery players.