Celebrate 'Thank You Day' with your neighbours by joining 'The Big Lunch' at Northampton park
"This will be the first time we’ve all connected as a group of neighbours since 2019 and we’ve really missed that sense of community"
A big lunch will be taking place at The Racecourse in Northampton on Sunday (July 4) in celebration of 'Thank You Day'.
Community activitist and freelance writer, Laura Graham, was one of the 13 original proposers of the celebrity-backed 'Thank You Day' campaign, which is calling on people to mark the day by joining their neighbours to thank those in local communities who have helped residents through the pandemic.
The freelance writer from Northampton is "astounded" that the initiative she helped to put forward has grown from a small idea to a nationwide event with over 16 million people expected to take part.
Laura said: "The groundswell of support has been incredible. The fact that ‘Thank You Day’ has been gathering such huge momentum over the last few months just goes to show what a big appetite there is for a national day of thanks.
"I am proud of the tiny part I have played in helping to make it happen.”
Celebrating good neighbours and bringing the community together has always been important to Laura, who has been hosting a 'Big Lunch' on her street for the past five years.
'The Big Lunch' is the UK's annual get-together by neighbours made possible by the National Lottery. It is one of the flagship 'Thank You Day' activities set to take place this weekend to encourage communities to come together for an afternoon bite to eat.
Laura continued: "This will be the first time we’ve all connected as a group of neighbours since 2019 and we’ve really missed that sense of community. Our previous Big Lunches bought a group of strangers together. It sparked friendships and helped us feel happier and safer where we live."
The original plan was to host the annual 'Big Lunch' street party to coincide with 'Thank You Day' but, with the complete easing of lockdown restrictions having been pushed back to July 21, this was no longer possible.
The neighbourly get-together, as a result, was moved to The Racecourse where there is more space for residents to socially distance and bring picnic blankets, food and drinks for a safe gathering.
Laura added: "This Sunday is really important because, although it’ll be a smaller gathering than we’d have liked, it’s the first step in reconnecting and strengthening important community
"We’ll be celebrating two of our neighbours’ birthdays that day and welcoming new neighbours, who moved to the street during Covid. For me, it’s a chance to say ‘thank you’ to them all because knowing I have people living on my street who care about each other is everything.
“I really hope people across Northampton join me in building the country’s first ever national thank you celebration this Sunday and have a socially-safe Big Lunch to say thank you together... even if it’s a small Big Lunch!”
Find out more about 'The Big Lunch' starting at 1.30pm on Saturday and how you can join in by visiting thebiglunch.com.