The Big Lunch

This is the 3rd Big Lunch I have hosted in Govanhill and hopefully not the last. This is the 1st year in the newly established Community Garden. On the day of the lunch there was a noticeable buzz in the air as the garden came alive with chatter, laughter, people bringing food to share, live music and games being played which was truly heart-warming. The sun chose to grace us too; the garden looking fabulous bathed in the sunshine. We were also able to show off what we were doing in the garden and eat some of our salad leaves and herbs in the delicious rolls my sister industriously made up. A big thank you goes out to everyone who made the day possible as well as to family and friends for the last minute push to ensure the garden looked its best. Bringing people together to share and enjoy food and each other is a winning recipe! Yazmin – Sooside Bloomers.

Yazmin of Sooside Bloomers.

Govanhill voice spoke to Derek Harper of the Eden project and Barbara Flynn from Crossroads Youth & Community Association about their participation in the days events and what they do more generally…
Hi Derek can you tell us a bit about your organisation?
I am Derek Harper the Community Network Developer (Scotland) for The Big Lunch from the Eden Project.


Yasmin of Sooside Bloomers and Derek from the Eden Project at the garden.

The Big Lunch is a very simple idea from the Eden Project. The aim is to get as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours annually in June in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place in all types of communities. In 2015, 7.29 million people took to their streets, gardens and community spaces for the seventh annual Big Lunch.

To learn more about The Big Lunch and how anyone can do their own visit our website there you can register for a pack to help you with setting up a Big Lunch. Or contact myself at

Social media: UK wide and Scotland
Twitter: @thebiglunch @biglunchscotlnd

Folks getting struck in to a right good lunch.

Some of the kids getting hands on with some planting.

Hi Barbara can you tell us a bit about your organisation?

Crossroads Youth & Community Association delivers community work within the Gorbals and Govanhill communities, supporting residents to progress within society. Our Govanhill team’s office is based in Samaritan House, 79 Coplaw Street, Govanhill.

Our fundamental purpose is to improve the well-being of all community members; we work creatively with people to enjoy and celebrate community life, empowering them to lead a dignified life and challenge or address issues that affect them, their families and their communities.

Social justice is the core value underpinning our work; a practice that identifies and attempts to address unequal relations of power for the creation of a better fairer society. Anchoring our work in a set of clear values and principles helps us identify our key aim and goals and guide us in good practice.

Empowerment and participation are two other fundamental values underpinning our work. We understand empowerment as beginning with the individual, gained through critical awareness of their situation, who goes on to make connections between their own experience and others who are experiencing similar challenges. For us, participation is a process about building involvement, through empowerment, and recognising people have the right to participate in decisions and structures that affect their lives.

We aim to bring people together, to build community organisations and where necessary support action being taken to address the issues that adversely affect excluded groups in the community, such as poverty, disadvantage or discrimination. We also continue to support individuals and families to exercise their legal and human rights and secure the best outcome for them.

The main aims of the community work that is carried out in Govanhill are to reduce marginalisation, tackle social exclusion, promote integration and support community cohesion locally.

The Community Work Team works on a number of levels with groups and individuals to support people to have a better quality of life and engage in civic participation within the community. The Team does this through a range of structured groupwork activities in the community, the provision of intensive one-to-one support to individuals, street work, work in schools around cultural and migration awareness, hosting and participating in community events and the development of collaborative pieces of work at local, regional, national and international levels. The approach used by the Team is a bottom-up approach – it is participant driven, and is a mixture of needs-led and asset-based community development work. The Community Work Team works with groups and individuals, rather than for them.

How long have you been established?

Crossroads Youth & Community Association became a constituted group in 1968 and has evolved from decades of youth and community work in the Gorbals and Govanhill areas of Glasgow to continue to deliver relevant and important support to people across these areas.

Is the community garden at Samaritan house a location you use often?

A local constituted community group that Crossroads supports, Feel Good Women’s Group, were recently granted two plots in the community garden and our community worker has been facilitating and supporting group members in accessing and utilising the space. The catalyst for this was an engagement event in Pollok Park earlier in 2016 on ‘Creating a Healthier Scotland’, where an interest in horticulture was identified and discussions were held on both the health and therapeutic benefits of organic eating and of growing your own fruit and vegetables. This is something that the group were keen to explore and when the opportunity to apply for a plot in the garden arose it was grasped with both hands. It has been been an exciting learning experience so far. At the moment members are growing flowers and we meet in the garden every Wednesday, but in between our regular Wednesday slot we can be found watering the flowers or just sitting in the garden and enjoying the beautiful and peaceful surroundings.

Do you use other locations too?

On Tuesdays Crossroads delivers work in partnership (and on the premises of) the Govanhill Free Church. We facilitate an Arts & Crafts Drop-in from 12:30-2:30 that is free and open to all and where participants enjoy lunch together and can participate in collective art projects, or just enjoy a cup of tea whilst getting on with their individual knitting projects.

On Tuesday evenings, in the same space, from 5:30-7pm we facilitate a Roma Drop-in for members of the Roma community which provides a safe, secure and comfortable environment for local Slovak and Czech Roma to meet. The Drop-In also hosts a number of specialist agencies, who attend and provide information, advice and support to participants every two weeks. (Sessions in the Govanhill Free Church run during school term-time only.)

Also, on Tuesday afternoons, a new Men’s Group has just started, in The Hidden Gardens from 1-3pm. This is open to men of all backgrounds and offers activities such as cooking, gardening and other outdoor pursuits.

On Thursdays we facilitate a health and wellbeing session for women in Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre, from 12:15-2:15. This weekly session is a combination of a fitness class, followed by a healthy lunch, which allows time for the participants to discuss issues of relevance or importance to them, participate in training or workshops, and have guest speakers from other organisations or agencies in to speak about health and well-being related matters.

Our Understanding Each Other project is a cultural and migration awareness project that is delivered each year in local primary schools in Govanhill and Pollokshields and the project has received widespread positive feedback and reviews, from pupils and teachers alike.

How can people get in touch and get involved your groups (s)?

There is no need for advance contact in order to get involved in our groups; any interested community members can simply go along to our group sessions at the above times and locations and can join in. However, for any further information, people can get in touch by phoning 0141 423 8093, texting 07749089264 or sending an email to Also, join our public group on Facebook! Search for ‘Crossroads Youth & Community Association Govanhill’ to join and keep up with our work.

How did you get involved in the Big Lunch event?

The friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the community garden makes it a sociable place where other gardeners are often around and happy to share tips and advice with one another. It was through such a casual encounter with Yazmin at the Sooside Bloomers gardening group (who also have some plots in the garden) that we got to learn about their work and plans to organise a Big Lunch. We were excited to link up and be a part of that and are delighted that the day proved to be a real success.

Barbara Flynn
Community Worker
Crossroads Youth & Community Association

If you would like your community group, activity or business to have a feature article please get in touch with Lisa at
tel; 07903152283.
For those interested I also have an independent blog if you wish to check it out;
and my photo website;

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s