HUNDREDS of Newport residents came together at the weekend to celebrate the very first big lunch event in the Afon Village.
The event saw around 400 residents attend, from almost 1000 homes in the area, to share their lunch as part of a community engagement initiative.
The Big Lunch, which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Eden Project, encourages neighbourhoods, communities and streets across the UK to come together for a few hours of fun, friendship and food. The idea behind the event is that the simple act of chatting to neighbours can make a real difference in communities and can help tackle isolation.
Katy Ryall, 31 from Rogerstone, was at the event with her family. “This is the first big lunch we’ve been to and it’s been brilliant,” she said.
“The whole community has become so involved over the past three weeks of organisation. It’s such a great place to live anyway, we’ve got a great sense of family spirit that’s been cemented today.
“Having lunch with your neighbours is great and we can’t wait to start organising next year’s.”
The event which was organised by American-born Jillian Thomas and Canadian born Janice Rees, 35 from Rogerstone. Ms Reece, who moved to Wales 12 years ago, said: “I knew a few of my neighbours before I started organising The Big Lunch as we all wait at the bus stop for our children but there are so many houses on my estate that this event has really allowed us to get to know each other even better.”
Their Big Lunch was saved from huge costs as the community centre venue was paid for by Cllr Chris Evans. The Mayor of Newport Cllr Matthew Evans also made a special guest appearance.
For more information visit thebiglunch.com where resources are available to help organise your Big Lunch are available from the end of June 2014.