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Become a member

We’re looking for 900 enthusiastic individuals across the UK to come on a journey with us - who are keen to create change where they live and need some inspiration to make it happen.

Big Lunch Extras participants drawing on a board together

Inspirational events

We’re giving a group of 900 people the chance to take part in a series of events - to help you meet others, boost your creative thinking, and pick up some of the skills to start making a difference where you live.

Held at the Eden Project, Cornwall, and across the UK, these are your introduction to a fantastic group of people, chosen from around the country, who are looking to do similar things as you in their own neighbourhood.

Participants have told us that the overwhelming take-away for them was ‘a feeling of not being alone’ (the number one impact for 48% of them), as well as ‘motivation’ (25%) and ‘new ideas’ (20%).

Support from others

These residential events – or camps, as we call them – are just the first part of the journey. When you return to your community, we’ll stay in touch so that we can hear how your initiatives are progressing and help you maintain momentum.

We’ll also invite you to other relevant, regional events, point you in the direction of useful resources for your projects – and help you keep in contact with other participants through our online forum.

It was great to meet up with so many inspiring community volunteers.
Big Lunch Extras participant

Is Big Lunch Extras for you?

If the programme sounds like your cup of tea, learn a bit more about what's involved before you apply to join in.

Who is Big Lunch Extras for?
Big Lunch Extras is for individuals in the UK wishing to start a community initiative or take existing projects to the next level. When you apply to join the programme, we ask you to tell us a bit about yourself so we can make sure it's right for you.

It’s not designed for professionals working within the sector, but we’re always interested in hearing about potential speakers at our events!

You don’t need to have taken part in or held a Big Lunch before.
What happens throughout the programme?
As well as coming along to our events to make them a great success, you'll be able to:

  • keep in touch with us about the progress you’re making on your community initiatives
  • join our online forum where you can swap advice on community issues with other Big Lunch Extras partcipants and people across the UK who are in the same boat 
What would I learn on an event?
Each of our events is unique, but we have designed the series to always include a range of practical activities, facilitated sessions and networking opportunities which help you increase your knowledge of a certain area (for example, funding or social media), offer you practical ideas to engage people where you live (such as outdoor play or community art), and give you the chance to talk to people who are in the same boat as you (fellow participants from around the UK).
Where do the events take place?
Big Lunch Extras camps take place at the Eden Project in Cornwall, the educational charity behind the project, which offers a fantastic place to learn. Each participant will kickstart their involvement with the programme through an event at the Eden Project. You may also be invited to our regional road shows across the UK, which cover specific topics in more depth.
How long are the events?
A typical Big Lunch Extras event takes place across a long weekend (from a Friday evening until a Monday morning) and our regional road shows are usually no longer than one day.
Can more than one person take part from the same community?
We know it’s great to have an ally when you go back to where you live, to help spread the word about what you’ve learnt. We are happy to welcome two members from the same community to apply to take part in the programme – but we want as many communities to benefit from the programme as possible, so we hope you’ll understand if we can’t always offer this.
When are the events?
We're running Big Lunch Extras events regularly between 2013 and 2016. You can see a full list on our Events page.
How much does it cost to take part?
Thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, nothing! The events themselves are free to attend. For camps at the Eden Project, participants' travel and food is also included throughout the event – as well as accommodation for those who need it.
Where do people stay?
During events at the Eden Project, our team arranges free accommodation in a nearby hotel for participants who are unable to travel to the venue from home each day.
How would I get there?
For events at the Eden Project, our team can arrange your travel to the venue – or reimburse your travel costs if we agree it with you beforehand. We are also able to cover transport costs to regional events, agreed beforehand.
Would I get a qualification?
We aren’t offering a formal qualification to participants, but we know you’ll pick up all sorts of useful skills from taking part.
Can you help me deliver my community project?
Our aim is to try to give you the ideas, confidence, motivation, skills, tools and contacts to make good things happen where you live. Our events, online forum and web resources are all there to help you. We unfortunately can’t get involved in delivering, endorsing, publicising or funding your project or event.

I'm completely inspired and motivated to get on and make my project work!
Big Lunch Extras participant

How to join in

If you think Big Lunch Extras sounds like your cup of tea, you can get involved by following these two steps:

1.    Firstly, create an account. Once you have created an account you can use our online community chat area to talk to others. Please note: if you are planning to apply for a place on the main programme please ensure you give us as much information as you can, including your telephone number.  

N.B. If you're on The Big Lunch mailing list you'll already have an account with us you just need to activate it. You simply need to request a new password. You'll then receive an email with instructions on how to set up a password for yourself. You can use this account to complete step two, below. By activating your account you will be accepting Big Lunch Extras terms and conditions.  View Terms and Conditions.

2.    Secondly, apply to join our programme of events. (Make sure you're logged in to do this.) If you want to take part in our programme of events, you’ll be asked to fill out a few extra questions to help us to ensure the programme is right for you. Once you have submitted this information, the Big Lunch Extras team will be in contact to let you know if your application is successful.  

If you are accepted onto the Big Lunch Extras programme, you will be able to attend events. all our events can be viewed on our events page, where all logged-in visitors will see a form allowing them to fill in their practical details to attend an event.

Hand drawing visual minutes of the Big Lunch Extras programme

Your journey with us

Find out what Big Lunch Extras is all about – in this animated video.

Lady holding a small plasticine model of herself

A transformational weekend

Watch this video to get a taster of our residential camps - and hear what other participants came away with.