Great Big Walk to Boost Community Spirit


In the wake of National walking month you may keep your walking shoes on as people across the country are being invited to find and cheer on your nearest Great Big Walk which will take in some of the UK’s shining examples of community spirit.

The new initiative by the Eden Project is asking folks in Northern Ireland to be part of a UK-wide event which sees five teams of walkers stroll across the UK to celebrate initiatives in their area.

Starting in Bately, West Yorkshire, the walkers are walking up an appetite for the Big Lunch on 18 June and our Northern Ireland walkers hope to have made it back to Belfast for Sunday 18th or these VIP guests will  miss the multi cultural street party which is planned as part of the Big Lunch annual day for neighbours by residents of the holy lands Belfast.

Eden Project is asking people to join the walkers, share their stories and celebrate community.

The Great Big Walk is funded by the National lottery and highlights the diversity of communities in Northern Ireland and beyond, and celebrates all people have in common.

The two Northern Ireland walkers are Olivia Cosgrove volunteer with Refugee Rescue and the founder of Row the Erne, and Noel Johnston, who has achieved the record for walking the Ulster Way in 28 days to raise money for charity and needy families.

The teams are walking home, finishing simultaneously on Sunday 18 June in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and London. Every day, the walkers and their supporters visit different community projects and initiatives and spend time with the extraordinary people who go the extra mile to bring communities together.

Our local walkers stopped with Friends of Glenariff and Antrim Glens Tourism volunteer Fern Major and her husband volunteer Mountain Leader Brendan organised one the most recent stops.

Fern said “Our area is celebrated by walkers worldwide and we were delighted to bring the Great Big Walk into Glenariffe taking them off-road to enjoy a feast of flora and fauna on the Garron plateau before descending to Glenariff Forest Park, where the walkers were treated to a lovely afternoon tea at The Laragh Lodge and met volunteers from the Glens Red Squirrel Group and Antrim Glens Tourism. Oisins CLG hurling field was the next stop to see the local Under 10s and Under 12s in action. Oisins CLG in association with Friends of Glenariffe are currently running a community fitness programme bringing people out to walk and exercise together so it was great to invite the walkers to enjoy a taste of our community and see what so many ordinary people do to make our community extraordinary".

People can get involved in The Great Big Walk by showing support and cheering the walkers along their way. Or go for a stroll with a neighbour, a tour with the town or anything in between and join The Big Lunch on 18 June for the biggest community celebration the UK has ever seen.

Joe Ferns, Big Lottery Fund’s UK Knowledge & Portfolio Director said:  “Thanks to money generated by National Lottery players, The Great Big Walk is connecting people and communities across the UK. We are excited to be inviting the walkers to visit some amazing projects, created by local people, and share their experiences with others.”

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