Banbury’s first “Big Virtual Lunch” set for this weekend to help connect older people across town

Banbury-based social enterprise Visit Banbury Community Interest Company is hosting Banbury’s first “Big Virtual Lunch” tomorrow, Saturday June 6.

Banburys first Big Virtual Lunch to be held tomorrow,SaturdayJune 6
Banburys first Big Virtual Lunch to be held tomorrow,SaturdayJune 6

The event will showcase the Age Friendly Banbury initiative, of which Visit Banbury CIC is part and to use the power of The Big Lunch to connect older people across the area in this challenging time.

Visit Banbury CIC’s origins are very much shaped and influenced by The Eden Project Communities initiative and The Big Lunch more specifically, and when they joined Age Friendly Banbury, vowed to use The Big Lunch to connect the community and especially Banbury’s older people.

Last May, The Eden Project Communities’ “Big Walk” visited Banbury when Visit Banbury CIC hosted the first Age Friendly Banbury Big Lunch on a sunny Saturday in Banbury’s Market Square.

At the end of 2019 Visit Banbury CIC successfully bid for funding from The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday fund to hold another one in June 2020, scheduled for the Big Lunch national weekend of June 6 - 7.

Sadly, due to Covid-19 restrictions, both the national event and the local one had to be cancelled as physical events.

Officials at The Eden Project decided The Big Lunch was needed more than ever to connect our communities and came up with the “Big Virtual Lunch”.

At the same time, Visit Banbury CIC decided they too could create an online version of the event and Banbury’s first ever “Big Virtual Lunch” was born.

Working with their Age Friendly Banbury partners, a two-hour online event connecting older people has been created and the organisers are hopeful many attendees from local groups, care homes and sheltered accommodation organisations will participate.

Tim Tarby-Donald, director of Visit Banbury CIC said: “Whilst we had to quickly change this event to an online version we knew more than ever how important it is to stay connected to our older residents who have been particularly isolated during the lockdown.

"We hope this works as if so, we would look to do others in the future.”

Bee Myson, Age Friendly Banbury Co-ordinator said: “The Big Virtual Lunch is a creative way to build a sense of community at a time when people can easily feel cut off from their friends and family.

"This is more acute for those who are shielding and those who are living alone.

"Significant numbers of older people in particular are not online and are missing out. It is time to work together with partners and take this opportunity to reach people with resources to redress this disparity."

If you would like to get involved please email [email protected] or contact Tim Tarby-Donald on 07885 551487.

For more information about Age Friendly Banbury email [email protected]