Celebrate your neighbours and safer communities with Big Virtual Lunch this weekend

Release Date: 04 June 2020

Richmond residents are encouraged to build on the community spirit of lockdown and join Richmond Council in celebrating Neighbourhood Watch week by joining the UK’s Big Virtual Lunch this weekend.

The Big Lunch is the UK’s annual thanksgiving weekend for neighbours and communities, led by the Eden Project. It has been adopted by Neighbourhood Watch to kick-off their annual Neighbourhood Watch Week, 7 to 13 June 2020, to highlight the importance of strong neighbourly bonds to ensure the safety of neighbourhoods and communities.

2020 will see the first virtual Big Lunch, in response to COVID-19 social distancing guidance. Richmond Council is encouraging residents to get involved from their doorsteps, by having a picnic at the same time as neighbours, or toasting neighbours, or creating an area where people can write messages - it could be with chalk on a wall or the pavement, or on a large sheet of paper or cardboard.

During Neighbourhood Watch week, the Council is encouraging residents to think about safety in their communities. People wishing to play an active role in community safety can sign-up to the Council and the local police’s Neighbourhood Watch communications platform OWL.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Richmond upon Thames has seen its neighbourhoods and communities come together to support each other in an unprecedented way.

“As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, the UK will celebrate Neighbourhood Watch Week. It is a chance to celebrate these stronger communities, but also a reminder for households to think about the role they can play in their personal safety, the safety of their homes and possessions, and the safety of their neighbours. 

“I would encourage all residents to sign-up to OWL to receive important news about crime and safety in their area. It helps you stay informed, know what to watch out for, share intelligence and helps the police catch more offenders.

OWL supports the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme by bringing together critical crime, public health and safety information into one place and sharing real-time updates with members.

New OWL members will be added to a watch of the 50 or so nearest homes so they can receive localised information as well as essential borough or London-wide information (such as policing updates, Council community safety updates, scam alerts, COVID-19 advice, crime prevention advice and domestic abuse information). If they choose, members can also report crimes and issues in their areas and respond to alerts with new intelligence.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Jeff Gibbons on 020 8487 5178.

Reference: P206/20

Updated: 30 June 2020