Michelle McManus visits friendly fire crew to hear Big Lunch plans

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Firefighters at Crewe Toll are supporting The Big Lunch.

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Today, music and TV personality and Scotland’s girl next door, Michelle McManus, visited Crewe Toll community fire station to hear about how The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are supporting The Big Lunch in Scotland in 2014 and are on the search for locals who will be lunching in their area.

Michelle, who has backed The Big Lunch in Scotland since 2013, met with SFRS Group Manager and Station Commander for Crewe Toll, Steve Harkins and heard how station staff across Scotland are keen to lend a hand at Big Lunches happening locally and take the chance get to know neighbouring communities better.

The Big Lunch – the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours - is funded by The Big Lottery Fund and partnered by Halifax, ASDA and StreetClub by B&Q. Now in its sixth year, the simple idea from the Eden Project aims to provide neighbours with an opportunity to get to know one another better. The Big Lunch happens on the first Sunday in June each year – this year Sunday 1 June.

SFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lewis Ramsay, the Director of Prevention and Protection in Scotland, said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to team up with The Big Lunch Scotland, and as part of our support for local communities, we would encourage community fire stations throughout Scotland to actively participate in local neighbourhood Big Lunch events and activities. Community groups and neighbours planning events should not hesitate to seek support and assistance from their local fire crews.”

In 2013 over 3.65 million people took part in Big Lunches across the UK, including thousands from Scotland, like Michelle, who held street parties, picnics in the park and community hall gatherings.

Local Group Manager Steve Harkins, said: “The Big Lunch is an extremely worthwhile initiative which encourages neighbours to build upon community ties. We’re very pleased to have teamed up this year as it’s a fantastic opportunity for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to engage with members of the public in a positive, meaningful way.”

Communities further afield in the Lothian’s and across Scotland are being encouraged to host their own Big Lunch events with their neighbours to help build community bonds and enjoy a simple day of food, friendship and fun.

Michelle commented on her own friendly community: “I’m lucky to have so many good friends on my doorstep and I have the best neighbour anyone could wish for.  He’s one of the reasons that I haven't moved.  We pop in to see each other for a cuppa and a catch up every few weeks or so, he’s a fantastic friend and we help each other out.  That feeling of community is invaluable to me, it means you’re never lonely and you always feel safe.”

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Anyone interested in taking part this year can get started by requesting a free Big Lunch pack from www.thebiglunch.com to get events off the ground. Packs contain invitations and posters to adapt for your community, as well as seeds, a bunting template and an inspiration booklet with lots of ideas and information.

All pack materials are undated so communities can have Big Lunches when best suits them if they can’t join in on Sunday 1 June. For more information, please contact Emma at The Big Lunch in Scotland on emma.smith@thebiglunch.com or on 0141 559 5066.

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