Saturday, 28 March 2015

Pickles wants big lunch to help communities

Eric Pickles is hoping the promise of a ‘Big Lunch’ will help fractured communities create stronger bonds.

The Secretary of State for Communities has outlined plans for a day where communities come together, unfurl blankets and plate up onion bhajis and sausage rolls as neighbours get to know one another over a bite to eat.

Mr Pickles also said that he wanted Diamond Jubilee celebrations to further interaction within communities and also announced plans for an England-wide community music day on 9 September.

The plans were revealed in a government paper - Creating the conditions for Integration - released yesterday which also promises to ‘outflank extremism’ and increase training and employment opportunities.

Mr Pickles said: ‘We are rightly proud of our strong history of successful integration and the benefits that it’s brought.

‘Britain is a place where the vast majority of people from all walks of life get on well with each other. Events such as the Royal Wedding and the Big Lunch show that community spirit is thriving.

‘I welcome the contribution of everyone but those who advocate separate lives are wrong. It is time to concentrate on the things that unite the British people.’

According to the paper, more than 2.4 million people took part in a ‘Big Lunch’ in 2011 which was ‘run and funded almost entirely by the voluntary sector and business, with only minimal government support to increase participation in selected areas’.

The plans outlined in the report are part of the government’s drive to create ‘localist’ solutions to various problems in communities across the country.

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