Commonwealth and community spirit at All Souls' Bolton

People will be gathering across the country this month to enjoy community feasts in celebration of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Big Lunch is a partnership between educational charity the Eden Project and the UK government. We’re delighted to be support the initiative by hosting 53 events - one for each country of the Commonwealth - in our churches across the country.

We kicked things off with a fantastic event at All Souls' Bolton. Inayat Omarji, the community leader who helped to organise the busy lunch, explains why it was such a success.

Flying the flag of India at All Souls' Bolton

Inayat writes.... A call from The Churches Conservation Trust’s chief executive, Peter Aiers, and the opportunity to fly the flag for India, where I have my roots, was all that was needed to get behind the project. Soon after hearing about the Commonwealth Big Lunches, I got out my phone book and started encouraging local people to come together and celebrate the community, friendships and food at All Souls' Bolton community hub.

Who could resist the temptation of a free spread of East-meets-West food, provided by the in-house social enterprise HuddleUp Café? It was great to see the bunting go up, and Indian flags waving around alongside those of other countries. This unique community space brought together the students from the neighbouring Eden boys school, the local residents and many other new faces from in and around Bolton. It was a privilege to have an opportunity to fly the flag of my motherland in Bolton, and to be the first of the 53 Commonwealth Big Lunches planned in CCT churches across the country.

Kick-starting community spirit

Not only did we enjoy a delicious free lunch, but many relationships were formed as a result of the conversation. This should kick-start some opportunities and activities within the community, strengthening the "All Souls' for all souls (everyone)" ethos. I am looking forward to seeing some of these relationships grow and prosper over the coming weeks and months.

Well done to all involved for a great event!

Click here to find a Commonwealth Big Lunch near you.