Jess Phillips and Westfield Road residents get together for their Big Lunch

Last  month, Longbridge Cllr Jess Phillips won a national Big Lunch Community Award. Jess, who lives in Kings Heath, received the award at Clarence House from the Duchess of Cornwall and Barbara Windsor.

And now she wants to encourage residents in Longbridge ward to try organising their own community building Big Lunches this year!

20130312-113411.jpgI was absolutely delighted to be awarded with one of only five Big Lunch Community Awards last week for the work I did down my street to bring people together. The Big Lunch events (street parties) I held not only made my neighbours feel safer and made huge improvements to our street but it was also great fun. I want to spread the message of the Big Lunch across Longbridge and the Northfield constituency.

The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours once a year in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of community across the UK. Last year The Big Lunch fell on the same weekend as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations on Sunday 3rd June and The Big Jubilee Lunch was part of the main Diamond Jubilee programme of events announced by Buckingham Palace. Research shows that an astonishing eight and a half million people took part in events across the UK.

The national day for this years Big Lunch is 2nd June but there is no reason you couldn’t hold this event on any day you wanted. Your lunch event can be big or small, it could be just you and a couple of your neighbours or you could shut your street and have a mini carnival.

Myself and my Longbridge colleagues, Cllrs Cartwright and Cruise, would be happy to help anyone who wants to get involved with this brilliant project. We have copies of the Big Lunch info packs and have put together a local briefing too, so go on have a go, make some sandwiches, knock on your neighbours door and make our streets into communities.

Never one to miss the opportunity to quote TV soundtracks, if you would like your neighbours to become good friends please get in touch with me at – have a look on too.

Watch Jess on ITV’s This Morning with Barbara Windsor! (from around 5 mins 20 seconds) – After receiving her award, Jess was invited to join Barbara Windsor on This Morning to talk about the value of the Big Lunch – we think she upstaged Babs a bit…! ;)

Watch the Big Lunch Community Awards below:



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