17 Mar 2015

Big Lunch Extras in Preston - The Banana of future truth

Big Lunch Extras hits Preston

In my previous post I waffled on about how I discovered 'Big Lunch' and the subsequent 'Big Lunch Extras' program, which you can read here 'Big Lunch Extras and Beyond'.

For a brief intro into the ethos behind 'Big Lunch Extras' please view this video like thing.

When I arrived in Preston I didn't technically know where I was going, so just aimed for nearest spire (I knew it was in a church), obviously I aimed for the wrong one and forty minutes later, and only ten minutes from my original starting point, I found the venue. At least I got my ten thousand steps in that day! The venue was the lovely Preston Minster and I must just say how lovely the people that helped out that day were, especially the amounts of times I went back for a coffee refill (I think they saw me down the first one, like a shot of tequila).

Upon arrival I was warmly greatly and badged up before I knew it, then I ran to get a coffee (see above), before grabbing a pew (pun intended, we were in a church after all). It is slightly awkward, well for me, when you go to these things alone, but everyone was so nice, that soon faded away.

Introduction from Mike soon to be Superman Smith

Team members Hannah Backland , Jeni Lewitt 

Along with this lovely video:

Topics covered 
I am not going to go into the topics too much, they were fascinating though, just too much for a blog post and my brain at the moment! But I made a few notes and bookmarked some sites to investigate further. 

  • Food banks -  Betty Trussell, encouraging food network, crisis help, social enterprise, recycling, helps with social isolation. Eat well/spend less. How to incorporate local food banks in project. Rolling out new initiatives/services. Signposting: linking people with the right agencies (listen while they talk). Other food bank projects, all different, all can collaborate in different ways. 
  • Sustainable Food Lancashire  SFC network (look up) Sustainable Food City  Love food/hate waste  Tackling food poverty, Facebook page - The Larder , Twitter page: @sustfoodlancs 
  • Lancaster CVS - Really helpful information about funding! Here is a rough summary of those notes!  Jane Attfield was brilliant, with some cracking tips from Alicia Foley. 
Quality - real outcomes
Applying for funding : What do you really want to do ?
Get support from others
Plan risk assessment
Clear financial breakdown
Market research
Time frame
Time line
Apply in plenty of time (3-6 months in advance)
Match funding
Community Engagement
Do your own fundraising
Exaggerate (numbers of participation, achievable things, quality).
Panic (forms can be overwhelming)
Waffle - be clear
Apply for any and every pot of funding
Consistently rely on other funding - how to be sustainable
Look at 'Awards for all' - key themes
Important 1. Eligibility
2. Clarity
3. Need
4. Benefits
 Most important 
*bank accounts, paperwork, policies, constitution
*clarity - no jargon/no waffle
*well costed project - include match funding
Food provided, community room hire, volunteer hours = match funding
*Need - demonstrate the need, talk to people
*Benefits - people's lives have changed (or will) because of the funded project.
We had a break for lunch, which was delicious!

Then inspiring anecdotes from Community Catalyst Mike soon to be Superman Smith. 

Mike was very clear about main purpose of these events, which is to put like-minded people together and see what magic they can conquer up. 

Tony's Top Ten Tips (mysterious/mythical Tony)
1. Do stuff - Just Do It
Hope is the fuel
*Articulating your goals
2. Be hopeful ~ Have a dream
3. Learn about your life ~ lone nut
4. Increase your reach ~ Be Angry (about the right things).
5. Be angry at the things you can change
*imagination will get you everywhere
Once a month visit something new
6. Imagine different things
*understand why we need each other
7. Give gifts and give thanks
*people don't care about what they don't understand.
<your comfort zone> -------> where the magic happens<
8. Get out more
9. Forgive yourself (and others)
*find a project bigger than yourself
10. Have Fun!!!!!!!!!!
*you are what you do
11. Be The Change! 

Community Arts:
The last part of the day was play time, in which we played with ideas that could then be taken back to our own individual projects back at home. 

  • Animation: I didn't make one! Devastated, but here is what the other dudes created on the day.

  • Pom Poms - Knitted things and all thing woolly seems to really resonate with people! More about that from me. 
  • Ninja Wildflower Stars - LOVE this idea, paper, wild flower seeds, rice glue and there you go! I will be doing this and then reporting back on the progress. So easy to do, and more importantly less mess! 

Summing it up:
The one day event was inspiring and informative, and I am super excited about the next event which is in.. The Eden Project

The Banana of Future Truth - Yes I actually wrote that in my notes and it will forever be in my brain. Banana of Future Truth - an anecdotal tale that left a rather funny image in my mind, which in a nutshell, was about imagining the impossible and then making it possible. 

Over the next few weeks I will be developing the Old Town Bloom 2015 project and then it is off to the Eden project for the April 2015 camp, which I will be blogging about and hashtagging like crazy over on the twitter.

Keep an eye out for future Big Lunch Extras event for 2015 by following this like *Click Here*


  1. Sure beats sitting around blowing yourself up, girth wise. Good going!

  2. The way you write is such flowing. Keep writing.

  3. This is very cool and inspiring. I so need to get out of this dungeon I have surrounded myself in.