Halesowen boosts community connection with The Big Jubilee Lunch

(L-R) Ellie Hunt and Vicky Rogers, Halesowen BID; Eve O’Connor, Cornbow Centre Manager; Darren Kench, Eden Project Communities; Billy Spakemon, Black Country Radio and Emma Cave, Iceland Halesowen

A community gardener from Halesowen has joined the Eden Project’s Communities team, and is encouraging local people to get together with their communities at The Big Jubilee Lunch this June. 

Darren Kench, who volunteers for Leasowes Walled Garden in Leasowes Park, has recently joined the team at Eden Project Communities as their new Community Network Developer for Central England, covering an area from Shropshire to Norfolk and Derbyshire to Bedfordshire.

Darren hopes to bring local people together to encourage them to actively engage with one another and the places they live. He said:

“It’s an exciting time to be joining Eden Project Communities and I am really looking forward to connecting people with each other and community projects in their neighbourhoods.

"One of the ways we do this is with The Big Lunch – the UK’s annual get-together for our communities.”

This year, The Big Jubilee Lunch, made possible by The National Lottery, will be the official community celebration for HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend, from 2 to 5 June, which kick starts a whole Month of Community. Halesowen will mark the occasion on Saturday 4 June, with a picnic in Somers Square, from 10am to 4pm.

The bring-your-own picnic ‘street party’, which is supported by Black Country Radio, will feature music from across all 70 years of The Queen’s reign, and visitors can make use of the bespoke picnic benches, sponsored by local organisations, that have been brightening up the town centre. Halesowen BID Manager, Vicky Rogers, said:

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming the community into the town, for this once-in-a-lifetime event, where we will have a range of menu plans available from local businesses, for anyone wanting to purchase a picnic on the day.”

Darren, who launched the Plant a Thought project during lockdown, growing and distributing free pollinator-friendly plants for passers-by to find during their visit to The Leasowes, loves bringing people and plants together, so that communities are more nurtured by nature. He added:

“I’m so pleased Halesowen BID have got behind the Big Lunch, so that we can come together as a community and celebrate all that the town has achieved, from the continued success of Halesowen in Bloom to the Leasowes Walled Garden project and the volunteers who support them.”

If you would like to plan your own Big Lunch or Big Jubilee Lunch you can get your free pack from Eden Project Communities at thebiglunch.com, where you can add your street party to the map and be part of millions of people across the UK connecting communities where they live.


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