NEIGHBOURS from all over Penhill and Taw Hill gathered to celebrate their communities as part of a nationwide scheme.

Hundreds of people around the country took part in the Big Lunch, a national initiative from the Eden Project to bring communities together each year to share a meal.

In North Swindon, Big Lunches were held in Penhill and Taw Hill, organised by the areas’ Time Banks.

About 40 people attended the Big Lunch in Penhill which was held in partnership with community groups, including the Penhill Haven, Health Ambassadors, libraries and residents’ associations.

There were lots of activities throughout the day, including seed planting, painting and pom-pom making and a fire engine also paid a visit.

Sue Dunmore, the manager at the Volunteers Centre in Swindon which runs the Time Banks, said: “I think it was a really good event. “A good range of people came along and seemed to enjoy themselves.

“If it’s something the community wants to have in the area we can definitely hold it again.”

Asami McNamara, who attended the event, said: “The Big Lunch was a great idea to meet new people and I had a chance to talk with people who normally don’t talk. “Also, children loved to share their lunch with the others and all children played nicely together. “We all had a great time and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.”

In Taw Hill the Big Lunch was held at St Francis School and residents brought everything from sushi to Indian cuisine to share in the meet-and-greet event, where they also swapped recipes.

Justin Tomlinson, the MP for North Swindon, who lives in Taw Hill, was among the visitors.

He said: “The Big Lunches were a fun way for the local community to not only meet our respective neighbours, but to share opportunities and challenges. “As an MP I have seen first-hand just how many issues can be resolved over a cup of tea, with everyone pulling in the same direction so it is great to see Swindon benefiting from these community events.”

Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place across the UK. To find out more about the Time Banks, visit