THERE’S still time for Dorset residents to get involved with this year’s Big Lunch on Sunday, June 1, when the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours takes place.

The aim of the Lottery-funded event, which is now in its sixth year, is to get as many of the 63million people in the UK as possible to have lunch with their neighbours once a year. Big Lunches needn’t be complicated or expensive; they can be any size or shape and can take place anywhere where neighbours can get together, from streets and gardens to parks, allotments and community centres.

The key ingredient to any Big Lunch is people, as those who take part help to create friendlier communities where residents start sharing more, from conversations to ideas, skills and resources.

With 48 days to go, there is still time for people to start planning. To help make the process easy, The Big Lunch has created free packs, which include posters, invitations, an inspiration booklet and other materials to help people get started.

Packs can be requested online where there is plenty of additional advice on practical questions, such as contacting the council to close a road, to ideas to make each event truly unique.

Rod Curtis, who has organised Big Lunches in Wareham, said: “We’ve had two fantastic Big Lunch events so far and the events were so successful that The Big Lunch becomes and annual tradition for the town.”

Research shows that that there are many benefits to having a Big Lunch.

More than 60 per cent of organisers say having an event in their community made them feel less isolated and 86 per cent of the 3.65million people that took part in last year’s Big Lunch reported a positive long-term effect in their neighbourhood as a result.

Sir Tim Smit, founding director Eden Project and co-founder of The Big Lunch, said: “The Big Lunch is all about getting together and having fun. It doesn’t have to be a big event, even a small get-together in your garden or on your street is a great way to get neighbours talking, sharing conversation, skills, resources – and, of course, the vital ingredient – food.

“It’s not too late to take part in this year’s event on 1 June so sign up now for your free pack and get your own event started.”