The Mayor Boris Johnson and his Street Party Ambassador Barbara Windsor will today mix the old with the new by joining the Big Lunch festivities at the South Bank Centre on the site of their celebrations of the 1951 Festival of Britain.
Set in the unique surroundings of the newly created gardens on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The Mayor and Ms Windsor will sit down for a picnic style street party with local residents and some of the garden’s creators who have been inspired by the Festival of Britain to transform the space into an attractive and intimate space.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London said: ‘London has a gloriously rich history of communities coming together to create a neighbourly society and street parties have had an important role in this. Stemming from the Peace Teas that marked the end of the First World War, to the epic celebrations around the recent Royal Wedding, there are now fantastic plans for a Big Lunch to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
‘So if you have a hankering to help build a greater sense of community spirit in your area, they why don’t you sign up to become a local champion and helps us to put the village back into the city. ‘
The Mayor’s street party ambassador Barbara Windsor MBE said:
‘With the Diamond Jubilee just around the corner, this is a fantastic time to inject some community spirit into our streets. I have some fabulous memories of growing up in London and the street parties we all got involved in. They provided the perfect atmosphere for local communities to come together and for neighbours to get to know one another.
‘ I would love as many people as possible to sign up to become a local champion, so that together we can make the Big Jubilee Lunch the best party ever.’
The Big Lunch is an annual one-day get together where neighbours and local communities share lunch and enjoy a street party. Now in its third year, nearly one million people have taken part each year across the UK, with over 20 per cent of which have been held in London. The Big Jubilee Lunch will be held on Sunday 3rd June 2012.
The number of people living alone in London has doubled since the 1970s and is expected to triple by 2020. The London Survey has found that 60 per cent of Londoners do not feel a sense of community in their local area. After taking part in 2010, 80 per cent of Big Lunchers felt better about where they lived.
The Mayor would like events like the Big Lunch to unlock and promote community spirit. He is looking to recruit local champions in every borough to help former East Enders star Barbara Windsor make this idea a reality.
For more information about the Big Jubilee Lunch and how to become a local champion please go to www.thebiglunch.com
Notes to editors:
- The Big Lunch is led by The Eden Project and funded by The Big Lottery Fund with support from MasterCard and EDF Energy. More Information can be found at www.thebiglunch.com
- The Southbank Centre is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, with exhibitions and new outdoor environments including the new garden on top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
- The garden has been designed by Eden’s Project’s landscape architects and built by 25 gardeners who have previously been homeless or in prison from the Providence Row Housing Association.
- The garden received funding as part of the Mayor’s Capital Growth scheme.
- Capital Growth is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund. It aims to boost community food growing, creating 2,012 new food growing spaces by the end of 2012. There are over 700 plots already up and running - involving more than 20.000 people who are growing their own food - in a diverse range of places, such as schools, by railways, on housing estates and on roofs.
- `The Mayor’s Street Party Ambassador is a voluntary role and will focus on building on the success of The Big Lunch initiative, which last year saw over 150,000 Londoners taking part, and will look to improve community cohesion.
- Local champions will assist the Mayor’s street party ambassador Barbara Windsor in helping to promote a massive day of local participation across the city on the 5th June.
- The London survey has found that 60 per cent of Londoners do not feel there is a strong sense of community in their local area and the number of people who trust their neighbours is decreasing. After taking part in the Big Lunch last year, 95 per cent of participants felt closer to their neighbours. Information on the London Survey can be found at http://www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/consultations/annual-london-survey
- Social isolation was the number one concern in a Joseph Rowntree survey on contemporary social problems (http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/monitoring-poverty-and-social-exclusion-2008) and the number of people living alone has doubled since the 1970s and will triple by 2020. Street parties like the Big Lunch are part of the answer: nine out of ten people involved with organising a Big Lunch last year felt it was a great way to strengthen their local community; almost 60 per cent did so to get to know their neighbours better and 79% feel better about their neighbourhood as a result.
- Pictures are available from the Mayor’s Press Office please call 020 7983 4754
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For media enquiries for the Mayor and Barbara Windsor please contact Rebecca Miller on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7983 4754(not for publication)
For media enquiries about The Big Lunch, please contact Golley Slater on 020 7255 6400
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