A free lunch? Yes!
In South Leigh on Sunday, 19th September 2021, there really was such a thing as a free lunch thanks to a National Lottery Local Connections Fund grant that supported a residents' 'Get-together' to celebrate the end of lockdown.
Its aim was to bring communities together again with an emphasis on tackling loneliness. More than half the entire population showed up to enjoy the fun and entertainer and tribute singer, Elvis K. Presley.
The Parish Council had applied for the grant in August and on 1st September they were advised that it had been awarded. Just 19 days after that, a fully-fledged 'residents only' fête had been organised on the Football Field.
Attractions included a free hog roast and pint of beer or other drinks for every resident and family member; tribute singer, Elvis K. Presley; children’s games, family fun dog show, tug o' war, Aunt Sally, penalty shootout, and a visiting ice cream van with free ice creams for residents’ children. The day ended with country dancing and drinks around the fire pit at sunset.
Parish Council Chair, Nicky Brooks, said, "The get-together created the opportunity for everyone in the community to get over lockdown blues and pandemic isolation, and could not have happened so quickly without the National Lottery grant. We are most grateful to them and to the team of residents who performed magic to organise it in the time! After a damp start to the day, it cleared perfectly for residents to arrive to the delicious aroma of roast hog".
Nicky added, "To ensure that we reached everyone we hand delivered flyers to every single household in the Parish and asked folks to bring anyone who had found it hard to get out and about during lockdown. It was a very happy day".
Regarding loneliness, Nicky explained, "We are a small community and believe that through our comprehensive communication with residents via letterbox, social media and email, we do get to everyone, but we need to be a truly resilient community. We want to ensure that no-one is isolated or slips through the net. The legacy of the National Lottery grant will be a specific and sustained effort to ensure that every single person in our Parish feels included".
The images below are largely © Anne Peake although a few are © Martin Spurrier.