Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas
Communities are being urged to come together and make merry this Christmas by organising a ‘Longest Table’ feast. The initiative encourages communities to eat together and is being rolled out by Stroud Community Interest Company ‘The Long Table’, with support from Cotswold District Council.
Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said, “What could be better than bringing people together, sharing a good meal, making friends and celebrating after a difficult year?
“The pandemic brought us closer together and we supported each other where we could. We want to build on these networks in our local communities. Having a warm space to gather and eat will help to combat the loneliness and isolation many people feel during the festive season.
“We hope to see lots of you participating in your own Longest Table events this year and maybe together we can make The Longest Table ever!”.
The ‘Longest Table’ events work on a ‘pay-as-you-can’ basis which means everyone is welcome no matter their financial situation. Once the organiser has covered their costs for running the event, they are encouraged to donate any remaining money to The Long Table which will help further their work.
The Long Table is a Stroud-based community interest company set up in 2018 with a mission to make sure everyone has access to great food and people to eat it with. As well as offering food to those who need it, they also teach people how to cook. An invaluable skill that can really go a long way.
As part of their Longest Table Campaign they’re asking people to host a meal this Christmas. This can be a meal around a kitchen table with a few friends, or it could be with the whole street in a village hall. You can invite your neighbours and friends, anyone near you who might feel lonely, people you work with, or community groups. The aim is to build connections and communities and to raise money so that even more people can eat together. The campaign is running from Friday 9 December to Sunday 18 December.
In line with our Council priority to help residents and communities access the support they need for good health and wellbeing, Cotswold District Council have contributed £40,000 to the Longest Table Campaign. This money has come from NHS funding for ‘Strengthening Local Communities’ which is aimed at local community development initiatives improving health and wellbeing, and to tackle health inequalities.
Tom Herbert, the Founder of The Long Table, said “The cost of living crisis is looming, and people are worried about how they’re going to get through the winter.
“We feel more than ever that ‘together’ is how we will get through this winter. We know that awesome things happen when we eat together, and the Longest Table packs can be downloaded from our website which explain how you can organise an event.
“During this time, we’re inviting workplaces, places of worship, streets, clubs, neighbours and friends to unite around warming bowls of nourishing food. Colleagues can get an extra Christmas party in at lunchtime and communities can use village halls to host festive feasts. Friends and families can even use this as an opportunity to carve out an hour (or two) to unite around one table. Everyone is invited to take part.”
Click here to find out more about The Longest Table campaign and access their downloadable step-by-step guide to hosting your own ‘Longest Table’ feast.