Portadown housing estates to throw street parties for community

Alan Hynes from Rectory CAG with Tanya Thompson on the right and her daughter Julie in the middle
Alan Hynes from Rectory CAG with Tanya Thompson on the right and her daughter Julie in the middle
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Four Portadown housing estates are to throw street parties for the community this weekend.

Killicomaine, Corcrain, Redmanville and Rectory will all be hosting Big Lunches in order to bring neighbours together and build community spirit.

Alan Hynes from Rectory CAG with Arlene McKeown and Big Lunch walker Rory Mullan

Alan Hynes from Rectory CAG with Arlene McKeown and Big Lunch walker Rory Mullan

Two intrepid NI volunteers of the Big Lunch have spent the last fortnight walking in towns and villages around NI, meeting with inspirational people who are improving their communities – and they stopped off in Portadown recently.

They were out and about to meet inspirational people in the community ahead of the Big Lunch weekend on June 1 and 2.

Rory Mullan and Patricia Fleming had a walk around the town, knocking on people’s doors to spread the word about the Big Lunch – and even handing out free cupcakes.

They were helped on their way by a raft of local community volunteers, including people from Regenerate and Rectory CAG, and were joined for part of their walk by teachers and pupils from Hart Memorial Primary School.

Patricia Fleming and Rory Mullan

Patricia Fleming and Rory Mullan

Patricia said: “It was wonderful to walk around Portadown and meet so many fine people – there is a lot of inspirational work going on, and I’m grateful to The Big Lunch and National Lottery for giving me this opportunity.”

Rory said: “We got a great reception knocking on people’s doors and telling them they still have loads of time to either find out about all the Big Lunches in their area or sign up for one themselves at TheBigLunch.com”

The Big Lunch is an Eden Project, supported by the National Lottery, that began in 2009. It encourages people to spend some time with other people in their local community to try and bring people closer together by sharing food, fun and conversation. A Big Lunch can be anything from a cuppa to a huge spread for the whole neighbourhood.

Earlier this year a Big Lunch-commissioned report revealed public concerns about communities drifting apart. Closing the Distance Between Us was based on survey data from 4,000 people across the UK, and found that:

One in five people in NI say they know their neighbours

Over half of the UKs feel distant from the people they live beside – with one in five people saying they have never spoken to their neighbours

76% believe people were closer to their neighbours 20 years ago than they are today

Three quarters believe it would be better for our communities if we were closer to our neighbours but the same proportion feel there are barriers to doing so

For more information go to www.thebiglunch.com