The Big Lunch campaign encourages people in the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in a drive to change community behaviour by strengthening relationships and motivating people to be involved with local activities.
According to the Eden Project, 86% of those that participated in the event last year felt better about their communities as a result.
The Big Lunch was founded by the Eden Project in 2009 and had almost a million participants last year. This year, the event takes place on 5 June.
The Eden Project predicts that, with added help of the £3.5m grant, up to 6.3 million people will take part in The Big Lunch over the next few three years.
Eden Project campaign director Peter Stewart says: “With this Lottery good cause funding it is our belief that the ambition to have The Big Lunch as a fixed event in the calendar, that is owned by the people, will take a major step to reality.”
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding and was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Yesterday (14 February), Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed his mission to develop the “Big Society”, an incentive which aims to encourage volunteering and community activism.