It’s here on the Green this Sunday, from 12.00. It’s free, it’s going to be very special this year, and it will be once again a unique opportunity to get together as a community. Bring your own chairs and sit at the long table, which will miraculously appear all along the road (closed to traffic for the day) beside the green, between the Stores and the Pub. Or have a picnic on the Green. Bring your own food and drink. Enjoy the entertainment. Toast her Majesty the Queen on her magnificent jubilee, contribute to the Charity Raffle (legendary prizes), take a photo and enter it for the photo competition sponsored by Little Arts (send to firstname.lastname@example.org), listen to the brilliant live musicians and gape at the astonishing line-up of classic cars. It’s a 1950’s themed event – so go wild. But above all meet friends, chat with neighbours and make new acquaintances. Everyone welcome.
How it all started
As you may know, the genesis of the national Big Lunch idea came from the Eden Project. The idea was simple. What if, on one day a year, people came together with their communities and shared a meal? And so, in 2009, The Big Lunch was born. It’s the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours and its grown ten-fold since then, each year getting bigger and better as millions of people take to their streets, gardens and neighbourhoods to join in for a few hours of community, friendship, and fun. The Big Lunch connects people and encourages friendlier, safer neighbourhoods where people start to share more – from conversations and ideas, to skills and resources, and, for some, it ignites a passion for doing more good things where they live. It’s the first weekend in June each year.
Louise Philps, the lead organiser of the Big Lunch in Rushlake Green takes up the story
“I heard about it in 2015 from a friend of ours who was taking part in a Big Lunch at their village in Dorset, thought it sounded a great idea for Rushlake Green, found out a bit more about it and then got a team of neighbours together to arrange a Big Lunch in here. We were lucky enough to get some local sponsorship and the support of the Warbleton Brass Band, a Dutch band known to the then landlords of The Horse & Groom and the local Morris Dancer troupe. Bill hired a town crier outfit and hosted the day – probably around 100 turned up, everyone bringing a picnic plus something for a sharing table. We ran a very successful charity raffle with generous prizes donated by local traders and raised over £700 for the Chestnut Tree Hospice. We had terrific help and support with the Little Arts lending bunting poles, hay bales provided to block the road, the DVH loaning tables and many helping hands setting up on the day. Since then we have run a Big Lunch every year (except during the pandemic) and it’s gone from strength to strength with around 250 people attending the last event in 2019 – now of course we include a tug of war and our wonderful Classic Car display! Now takes considerably more organising with insurance, health & safety etc. etc!!
The first RLG lunch supported the Chestnut Tree Hospice and raised £740
In 2016 we raised around £1,000 for the Hospice in the Weald project at Five Ashes, and the same again for them in 2017.
In 2018 we raised £1050 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, and again over £1,000 for them in 2019.
This year we are supporting The Children with Cancer Fund in Polegate.
The support and generosity of raffle prize donors and the all the people who buy the charity raffle tickets means we can help and make a big difference with the Charity funding. This year we will also have a card reader at the raffle ticket table to make buying the tickets easier. The Big Lunch is not for profit and is free to all who attend, just bring a chair or rug, and your picnic! This is all possible thanks to local businesses, individuals and organisations giving generous financial support to help cover the costs of arranging and putting on the Big Lunch.”