New Forest District Council is encouraging residents to apply now if they want to hold ‘Big Lunches’ in the street on Sunday 2 June.

The Big Lunch is a one day get-together for neighbours – an idea from the Eden Project, encouraging people across the UK to come together for a few hours of food, friendship and fun. The initiative aims to create stronger, friendlier communities in which people start to share things, from conversation and ideas to skills and resources.

Big Lunches can be big or small and take place in the street, back garden, park or local community venue – anywhere where neighbours get together.

Since starting in 2009, thousands of events have taken place each year, with a staggering 8.5 million people participating in 2012. A Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or a full blown street meet that quite literally stops the traffic.

If you want to hold your Big Lunch in the street you’ll need to apply to New Forest District Council for a road closure and residents are encouraged to do this as soon as possible. The closing date for small scale street parties for the Big Lunch is 5 April, but early applications will help to avoid disappointment.

New Forest District Council’s chief executive, Dave Yates, said: “We’ve made the application process for small scale street parties as straightforward as possible. The desire to hold street parties has become increasingly popular over the last few years so by reducing paperwork and costs, we’re making it easier for communities to come together and host their own Big Lunches.”

A small street party is defined as one for less than 500 residents, with no entry charge and to be held on a residential road with no through traffic, shops or car parks in the vicinity.

There’s no application fee, you won’t have to consult the Highway Authority, police or public transport operators and New Forest District Council will not require that public liability insurance is taken to cover your event, although it recommends that you do so.

Resources to help you plan your event can be found at thebiglunch.com or by calling 0845 850 8181 to speak to a member of The Big Lunch team.

For more information about what you need to do to apply for a road closure, call the council on 023 8028 5260 or email traffic@nfdc.gov.uk

Alternatively, find out more and download an application form online at newforest.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=4123

You will also have to inform the council’s events team of your street party. Call 023 8028 5505 or email events@nfdc.gov.uk

All you need to do then is hang out the bunting and start baking the cupcakes!