A MAN from Penarth will be joining a walk to promote community cohesion and tolerance.
Richard Parry will be joining the Eden Project’s Great Big Walk, starting later this month in Yorkshire and culminating in Cardiff on June 18 the date of this year’s Big Lunch.
The Great Big Walk will start in Batley, the constituency of social campaigner Jo Cox MP, who was killed last year.
The Big Lunch, an idea from the Eden Project and funded by The National Lottery, takes place on June 18 as part of the Great Get Together weekend and aims to bring people, neighbours and communities together to share friendship, food and fun.
The aim of the walk and The Big Lunch is to highlight the importance of community cohesion, tolerance and connection in order to combat the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness.
According to research published by Action for Children, nearly a third of Welsh parents feel lonely, isolated and regularly cut off from friends and other sources of support.
The charity’s findings also indicate that nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of people in Wales, say their loneliness became worse after becoming a parent.
The importance of having a support network to rely on was highlighted by parents the charity spoke to.
More than half (53 per cent) said it is particularly important to have friends who are also parents.
According to Age Cymru, 75,000 older people in Wales describe say that they are "always or often lonely" with 53 per cent of people have never said hello or good morning to a neighbour according to "Cost of Disconnected Communities" commissioned by The Big Lunch across the UK in December 2016.
Mr Parry and the other walkers will set off on the Great Big Walk in pairs, and return to their communities – one walk going to Wales, one to Cornwall, one to Northern Ireland, one to Scotland and one to London.
Mr Parry, who works in the arts, was brought up in west Wales, and after several years living in Yorkshire, now lives with his family in Penarth.
He will join the three-week long walk, returning to Cardiff to share a meal with local people as part of The Big Lunch celebrations.
Richard will walk 10-15 miles each day, and will walk to Wrexham, Bangor, Machynlleth, Llandrindod Wells, Carmarthen, Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Cardiff.
He said: "Creating opportunities for people to come together and create social bonds is so important, especially now that the problem of isolation for people of all ages is on the increase.
"The walk will also give me the opportunity to visit projects throughout Wales that are creating community initiatives that will bring people together, helping them make new connections."
Lowri Jenkins from Eden Communities Wales added: "Bringing people together is crucial.
"There is far more that connects people than divides them, and events like The Great Big Walk and The Big Lunch encourage people to come together, forge new relationships and build stronger and happier communities."
Communities wishing to join in and support the walk are encouraged to follow its progress on The Big Lunch website at www.thebiglunch.com.