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Jubilee jubilation as BIG back community celebrations

A wet spring has failed to dampen the spark in communities across the nation as preparations to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee hot up.

Recently, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) announces a wave of grants totalling more than £292k to enable 63 projects to bring out the bunting and hold events such as street parties, Big Lunches, tea dances and music festivals over the Jubilee weekend (June 2-5).

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund’s England Chair, said: “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend is providing the perfect opportunity for communities up and down the country to come together and celebrate. It coincides with this year’s Big Lunch which is very much about bringing people together who might not otherwise have the chance to meet.

“The Jubilee offers the chance for people from all walks of life to socialise and get to know each other, helping to pave the way for peer support networks to develop and strengthening communities. Ultimately, the Jubilee weekend is a chance to focus on the good things that people can offer each other. I am very pleased that BIG is able to lend its support to many towns and villages across the nation for these special celebratory events.”

Recent fundings come from BIG’s Awards for All programme which provides small grants to projects which benefit local communities. More than £675k in grants has been awarded to 144 projects through Awards for All since the start of 2012 to help communities across the country celebrate the Jubilee in June. And £3.5m was awarded to The Big Lunch in 2011 for three years.

“She seemed to float along...she looked serenely dignified” - remembers Lady Bagot of the 1953 coronation

One of the plethora of community events BIG is funding today is in Blithfield, Staffordshire. A grant of £2,727, is helping the local community to hold a free Jubilee tea party for families at Admaston Village Hall complete with entertainment in the form of a fire-eater and a magician. And a surviving attendee of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 will also be in attendance. Lady Bagot of Blithfield Hall, widow of Caryl Ernest Bagot, 6th Baron Bagot, will be presenting children in the parish with commemorative mugs on the day.

Lady Bagot, aged 92, originally from Sydney, worked for the Red Cross in London during the War. She recalls that day in 1953 when Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II: “I felt very proud because I was one of only two Australians in the Abbey. I felt I might have been watching a coronation procession taking place hundreds of years ago and it gave me a wonderful feeling of continuity. What struck me was how everyone looked so at home in their various dresses as if they always wore them.

“When she appeared, one noticed no-one else. She moved very slowly so seemed to float along. She wore a circle diamond tiara often seen in pictures of Queen Victoria.  She looked so lovely and serenely dignified. Her beautiful complexion seemed to glow. I could hardly believe I was there.”

Also in the Midlands, Dudley Association of Community Networks will use £9,956 to organise a series of Queen's Diamond Jubilee events for community groups across the borough involving intergenerational games, displays, entertainment and awards for volunteering. Friends of Coronation Park, in Corby, Northamptonshire receives £3,144 to hold a 1950s themed event to celebrate the Jubilee anniversaries of the Queen and Coronation Park which will showcase the achievements of volunteers who have carried out work at the park and encourage others to get involved.

In the East, Ridgewell Jubilee Committee in Braintree, Essex, will use £1,115 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with an afternoon picnic in the park for families which will include a jazz band, bouncy castle and a Punch and Judy show. Museum of Power in Colchester receives £505 towards funding a Jubilee event specifically targeted at older people and unpaid carers who are socially isolated to help encourage friendships and peer support. A 1950s style tea dance will be run by Cambourne Lunch Club in Cambridgeshire with the help of a £1,850 grant as part of a celebratory event which will include educating younger generations on what it was like to live during the Queen’s coronation.

In the North, a £6,100 award will enable RASC/RCT Association Teeside (Royal Army Service Corps - Royal Corps of Transport Association) to pay for a commemorate evening for veterans, and the wider community, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and Armed Forces Day. Silloth Tourism Action Group in Cumbia receives £10,000 to host a three day festival to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee for local people and visitors to the area. A temporary ice rink will be installed as part of the festivities to help attract people to the area.

And in the South, Aylesbury Old Town Residents Association (AOTRA) in Buckinghamshire receives £3,145 to host a Diamond Jubilee Big Lunch and street party with live music and performers. A grant of £6,650 will enable Plymouth Communities Befriending Consortium Community Interest Company to celebrate the Jubilee with a range of entertainment and recreational activities, targeting older people and those with mental health difficulties.

BIG’s Awards for All programme offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 to social and environmental projects that will benefit local communities and make a difference to the lives of those most in need. Voluntary and community groups, schools, health organisations and parish and town councils can all apply. Visit or phone 0845 410 20 30 for more information. New applications for celebratory events being held over the Jubilee weekend are no longer being funded.

A full list of Jubilee awards announced today 
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Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572
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Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 46% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
  • The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £27 billion has now been raised and more than 330,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
  • The Big Lunch was founded by the Eden Project in 2009. In 2011, BIG made a grant of £3.5m to help enable the Big Lunch to run for three years in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • The Big Lunch aim to strengthen communities by encouraging neighbours to talk to each other over and hold community lunches. For more information visit

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