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Londoners embark on ‘The Big Walk’ to celebrate community

PICTURED: Steve Barnabis

LONDONER STEVE Barnabis from London has been chosen to join The Big Walk, an idea from the Eden Project, made possible by the National Lottery.

Each walker has been hand-selected to take part, based on their passion for better connected communities and Barnabis will walk some of the route.

The Big Walk is designed to shine a light on the people at the heart of the UK’s communities, who work together to make great things happen every day. This annual event sees four teams of walkers embarking on an epic journey to the four corners of the UK, visiting different projects and community groups along the way that are making a real difference to local lives.

The 45 year old lives in Woodford Green and runs The Soul Project in Walthamstow which provides young people with a safe alternative to the streets. He has become increasingly concerned about escalating levels of violence on our streets.

He said: “I have a real interest in projects run by committed people for the benefit of their community. Our own project, for engaging with young people in positive activities, is based on working in partnership and visiting other initiatives will be a chance to share ideas, thoughts and good practice.”

Also joining the walk is Katherine Horsham, who will leave from Morecambe on May 16, live on BBC’s One Show, as the teams of walkers set out across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The 30 year old will then travel 378 miles back to her home in Custom House, helping to spread the word about the strength and passion of communities and raising awareness about the walk’s finale - The Big Lunch - the UK’s annual get-together for neighbours on Sunday June 3.

As well as helping people to understand the great things that are going on in their communities, Horsham will also be encouraging them to join in The Big Lunch celebrations.

PARTICIPANT: Katherine Horsham

“It will be a real privilege to shine a light on this invaluable work which so often happens with very few resources”, she said.

“When I visit the community projects I want to be hands-on and do some volunteering and inspire more people to get involved in devoting their time to their local community.

“I see the walk as a chance to create a long lasting legacy by connecting with the volunteers I meet and ensuring we can continue to support each other beyond the walk itself.

“For me personally it is also a chance to further rebuild my confidence after experiencing anxiety and depression over the last two years.”

Horsham is passionate about volunteering and says it is ‘hardwired’ into her. Her highlights include being a trustee at Vauxhall City Farm, dancing in the London 2012 opening ceremony and helping the homeless charity, Crisis, open its centres at Christmas.

The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project in Cornwall and was launched back in 2009 with the simple premise that ‘great things happen when you bring people together’.

Peter Stewart of The Big Lunch says: “The Big Walk celebrates the great things people make happen where they live. The Big Lunch is a chance for people everywhere to build those friendships and connections locally, which help to create stronger, happier communities.

"Last year 9.3 million people had fun together at over 96,000 events across the UK - so give our walkers a smile and a wave, and sign up to bring your own community together for a Big Lunch on June 3.”

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