NEIGHBOURS came together to share food, recipes and stories as the Big Lunch returned to Greater Leys.
The event, organised by Good Food Oxford, was also a chance to celebrate 20 years since the first residents moved in to their homes in Fry’s Hill, the second stage of development of the estate.
Some 50 people flocked to The Barn in Nightingale Road on Saturday to share their favourite flavours, press apples, make smoothies and run sports activities.
Hannah Fenton, manager of Good Food Oxford, said: “There was beautiful sunshine for most of the time.
“The main reason for doing it was because people just don’t know their neighbours any more.
“We wanted to bring people together and feel part of a connected community.
“When people live on the same street there is something that connects us, gives us common ground and food is a great way of bringing people together.
“Whenever I am in Greater Leys, it is a good feeling. People look after each other here.
“When someone is not well or someone’s kid is starting school, everyone really cares.
“It is important to look after that and to relish it and enjoy it.”
Good Food Oxford works to address social, environmental and economic challenges such as poor cooking skills and rising food prices.
The Barn was one of the old farm buildings converted on the site when Fry’s Hill began to be developed between 1996 and 1998.
One hundred acres of former farmland on the southern edge of Oxford was set aside for the new housing.
The Big Lunch is a national annual get-together, organised by the Eden Project, for neighbours across the country.
It is now in its ninth year and it is hoped the number taking part will be bigger than the 7.3 million people who got involved in 2016.
A Big Lunch was held in the Leys in 2015 but did not return in 2016 because the Oxford City Council officer who originally set it up left her post.
This year the event returned triumphantly, thanks to funding from the city council.
In March this year, newly-published research from Oxford University used data from the Big Lunch to explore the link between sharing food and individual happiness.
Researchers found that people who eat socially are more likely to feel better about themselves and have a wider social network.