At the official launch of The Big Hello!, the inaugural National Community Weekend taking place on the May bank holiday weekend 2019, were Lauren Keane, Bill O’Herlihy and Janelle Mukiza. (Pic: Marc O'Sullivan)

As part of The Big Hello!, the first National Community Weekend set to take place this May bank holiday weekend (4-6 May), people are being encouraged to reach out to their neighbours in order to strengthen community ties and help tackle the problem of social isolation. 

“The Big Hello” supports communities to host events in their local area, with funding for events available to residents’ committees and community and voluntary groups through their local authorities

In advance of the inaugural event, Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, said: “I am challenging everyone to reach out and say The Big Hello! to their  neighbours by organising an event, or attending one in their local community. Events could range from a communal cup of tea or a picnic to a sports day or a local history event. The community decides!

“In order to support these events I have allocated €10,000 to each of the 31 Local Authorities and asked them to allocate funding to The Big Hello! events in their areas. The target is for at least 1,000 local events to be held throughout Ireland.”

The event is being organised by the Minister’s Department in partnership with representatives of Public Participation Networks, Local Community Development Companies, Volunteer Ireland, Young Social Innovators, Macra na Feirme, Street Feast, An tOireachtas and Change X. It is intended to have at least one Irish language event in each Local Authority area.

Applications are welcome from community and voluntary groups, organisations and residents’ committees within each local authority area.

Further details can be found on, and on The Big Hello! online.