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Ainsley Harriott launches Commonwealth Lunches at number 10

COMMONWEALTH: Ainsley Harriott celebrated the Big Lunch launch with schoolchildren

AINSLEY HARRIOTT has launched the Commonwealth Big Lunch, a campaign to foster community spirit throughout the Commonwealth.

The celebrity chef joined education secretary Damian Hinds and a group of schoolchildren at 10 Downing Street yesterday to announce the project, which will take place across 53 nations and is are part of a scheme designed to encourage people to get together to celebrate their Commonwealth connections and community through food.

Harriott, who is the Big Lunch ambassador, said: "It was great to have a Commonwealth Big Lunch with the school children in the state dining room at number 10 today. I have always believed that food is the perfect way to reach out to people and celebrate different cultures.

"This year there will be celebrations across six continents. It's fantastic to see community spirit thriving and people enjoying their neighbourhoods the world over."

He added: “Once you cook for someone and they eat it, you’ve instantly made a connection. You have something to talk about. It’s the perfect way to embrace diversity and celebrate the commonality we all share.”

The Commonwealth Big Lunches are the result of a partnership between educational charity the Eden Project and the UK Government.

Speaking earlier this year, prime minister, Theresa May, said: "The Commonwealth is a diverse and vibrant network and its strength lies in the people-to-people links. The Eden Project brings together millions of people as part of their annual Big Lunch so we are delighted to partner with them on Commonwealth Big Lunches.

"Commonwealth Big Lunches will be an opportunity for people across the Commonwealth to come together and, over a shared meal, discover and celebrate their connections, experiences and stories."

The event is an extension of the Eden Project’s annual Big Lunch, which launched in 2009 to incentivise people to develop better relationships with their communities by sharing a meal with each other. Millions of people have taken part, with 9.3 million getting involved last year.

The Commonwealth Big Lunch will take place on Sunday 3 June.

For tips on organising your own Commonwealth Big Lunch, you can head to the Eden Project’s website.

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