Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 15:30

More than 9 million people took part in the UK’s biggest celebration of community this year, it was announced today (Tuesday 22 August, 2017).

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of communities, with millions of people taking to their streets, gardens and community spaces for lunch.

In that time the number of participants in The Big Lunch – an idea invented by the Eden Project and made possible by the National Lottery – has grown from fewer than a million in 2009 to 7.3 million in 2016.

This year The Big Lunch took place across the UK on Sunday June 18, forming the highlight of The Great Get Together weekend, through a partnership forged with the Jo Cox Foundation. The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual celebration for neighbours aiming to bring people and communities together to celebrate connections and commonality.

Organisers of The Big Lunch revealed today that 9.3 million – or 14 per cent of the population – attended a community event over that weekend, an uplift of nearly two million on The Big Lunch celebrations the previous year.

Eden Project Executive Director Peter Stewart said today: “We are massively encouraged by this year’s participation figures. Evidence shows that bringing neighbours together for a Big Lunch is not only fun, it also binds community spirit. With the sun shining brightly and The Big Lunch underpinning The Great Get Together, this was our best year yet.”

Joe Ferns, Big Lottery Fund’s UK Knowledge & Portfolio Director said: "The Big Lunch is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and recognise the strength of communities. It's great to see the money generated by National Lottery players helping to bring people together and supporting happier communities."