Let’s do lunch! Picnic to boost Banbury Young Homeless Project

Front, from left: Nathan Bignell, Deb Parker, Tim Tarby-Donald and Ros Jones with staff and volunteers
Front, from left: Nathan Bignell, Deb Parker, Tim Tarby-Donald and Ros Jones with staff and volunteers

It will be sausage rolls and sandwiches for everyone as a huge picnic is held to support young, vulnerable and homeless people across the town.

Banbury Young Homeless Project, BYHP, is hosting a Big Lunch and it hopes to get the whole community involved.

It’s quite exciting because the event raises awareness”

Deb Parker

But Deb Parker, acting CEO for the charity, says the aim of the event is to raise spirits and awareness rather than money.

She said: “It’s quite exciting because from this event, awareness is raised and we hope more people will then come and volunteer.

“There are always great benefits to things like this – not necessarily financial ones.

“It’s a community event – everyone brings along a dish and it’s a chance to meet some of your neighbours that you didn’t know before and see what work we do.”

The Big Lunch, which is free to join in with, was set up by The Eden Project in 2009 to encourage communities to come together to share lunch but it is the first time BYHP has hosted one.

With support from Visit Banbury, the Banbury Community Action Group, Hook Norton Brewery and Kris Reeder, the lunch is set to be a special occasion.

The charity has received a grant from Banbury Town Council for the event, which will take place on September 6 (12 noon until 5pm) in Chandos Close.

People are asked to simply bring food and non-alcoholic drink to share with others.

Any fold-up or camping-type chairs are particularly welcome.

There will be a range of food for all dietary requirements and lots of tasty treats.

There will also be live music, creative arts, games, activities, and a big raffle.

The charity supports and assists vulnerable young people aged between 13-25 in ‘finding and maintaining a safe home from they can flourish’.

Its job club is a service which aims to get people into work and although it will shut down next month, its sandwich shop, On A Roll, has supported youngsters in the town since 2010.

In 2012, the charity won the Queens’ Award for Voluntary Services at the Cherwell Business Awards.

And in November 2013, it was awarded the Children and Young People Now prize for Advice and Guidance.

The sandwich shop is set to close after failing to secure further funding from the Big Lottery and will serve its final sandwich on September 18.

But Deb thinks the future is bright for the charity which hopes to build on its reputation across Banburyshire.

She said: “We will of course continue our vital work with local young people.

“We will continue to find innovative ways of helping them to find the confidence and gain the skills they need to make the right choices and to overcome their difficulties.”

Email enquiries@byhp.org.uk for more information about the Big Lunch and for more details about the charity and the work it does, go to www.byhp.org.uk