A week after Jo Cox’s murder in 2016, thousands of people came together in towns and cities across the UK to celebrate Jo’s life and her belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.
An extremist act designed to tear the country apart had helped bring people and their communities closer together.
And so it was that the idea for the Great Get Together was born.
In 2017, the nation came together on the first anniversary of Jo’s murder for the first ever Great Get Together.
The response was overwhelming with millions taking part in picnics, Iftars, street parties and community celebrations large and small of all kinds across the UK.
90% of people who took part said they wanted to bring their communities together again so in June 2018 it happened all over again on what would have been Jo’s 44th birthday.
Here’s some of what we achieved together.
Over the weekend of 22-24 June 2018, we estimate that around 300,000 people participated in The Great Get Together across 4,500 events.
An online survey of supporters shows that there was a good regional spread of events, with the highest participation being in Yorkshire, the North West and London.
Batley and Spen, Jo’s constituency, led the nationwide celebration of everything we hold in common with thousands of people taking part in wide-ranging activities from an interfaith open air meal in a town square to a 6.5km cross-country run for all ages and abilities.
The start of new relationships and a gateway to building closer communities.
The weekend was a powerful experience for those who took part, especially for those who organised events.
- 83% said they met someone new at their Get Together
- 62% said that before the weekend they didn’t know many of their neighbours or knew none at all
- 67% said that spending time with their local community and their neighbours was the best part of their Get Together
- 72% said they felt more positive about their neighbourhood/community following the weekend
- Breakfast clubs, coffee mornings, street play and freecycle events are just some of the new initiatives that people told us they plan to start up following their experience of participating in the Great Get Together
Through in-depth conversations with a sample of event organisers, we learned that:
- 70% are planning to organise other community events ahead of next summer
- Primary motivation for most people taking part was wanting to bring people together, whether it was because they wanted to encourage community cohesion, combat loneliness or get to know their neighbours
- More than 85% of organisers felt their event brought together a diverse range of people, but most are keen to improve on this further and would like more support and advice from us on how to attract diverse communities and groups of people
Inspiring event organisers
Many event organisers had never run a public event before and weren’t previously involved in their local communities.
With your help, we engaged a whole new bunch of community champions. Most people participated simply because they wanted to bring people together:
- 45% said this was the first time they had organised a Great Get Together
- 74% of organisers have children
- 68% are aged between 36 and 65
A national moment
People who didn’t take part still thought the weekend was important.
YouGov polling across a sample of the general population found that 26% of people had heard of The Great Get Together.
People who had heard of the Great Get Together believed it to be a positive initiative (including both those who voted Leave and those who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum).
Those who had heard of the Great Get Together believed it was important to…:
- …remember Jo Cox and her belief that we have more in common than we think
- …get to know one’s neighbours and spend time with them
- …get to know new and different people
- …unite communities
Inspiring new audiences
We reached beyond traditional community-minded audiences.
Social media and other digital comms were the principal drivers of participation.
Our media coverage spanned across national outlets and the whole political spectrum, with a total of 224 articles mentioning The Great Get Together and broadcast news coverage both nationally and regionally.
Additionally we had a very broad digital reach. We were even amongst the top trends over the weekend.
6.8 million people saw our content on Facebook, 1.6 million saw a post on Twitter and we trended across the weekend, despite it also being England’s first match in the World Cup.
Those that took part want it to happen again. 98% of survey respondents told us The Great Get Together should happen again, with 24% saying we need to bring communities together more than once a year.
A HUGE THANK YOU for making this possible!
Meet some of the amazing organisers from the Great Get Together 2018
“I organised a Get Together in our cul-de-sac as very few people knew each other and most that turned up hadn’t met before. I met one of my neighbours for the first time and we’ve become very good friends; I’d rely on her for help in any instance from borrowing the sugar to helping look for my lost cat. Meeting her has really enriched my life. The event really worked at bringing people together and showing us how much we have in common.”
“I was talking to two little girls and their mum at my Get Together and learned that their younger brother had, unfortunately, had a seizure at home and was knocked out. Their mum told me that the girls had been incredibly brave and helped the paramedics. When I heard about this I decided to tell our Mayor and he presented them with a certificate for bravery. It was lovely to celebrate not just diversity but bravery as well. It was such a touching event. Watching the kids on our street play together on the day and at weekends since has made me realise how valuable these sorts of things are.”
“Our Great Get Together gave many people on our street the excuse they had been looking for to get out of their houses and spend some time together. A lot of parents and carers experiencing isolation found it particularly beneficial; one person told me the memory will really stay with her for a long time. It was great for bringing people with similar experiences together. One older resident, who builds willow hides, was introduced to others that work on the local allotment and they’ve now made arrangements to hold regular willow weaving workshops at the allotment for different groups.”
“There was a really diverse range of people at our event – babies to grandparents, different faiths, and a real mix of ethnicities. Lots of different groups came together and people really made an effort to talk to those they didn’t already know. There was a conversation between people of different faiths about Ramadan, Eid and the challenges of fasting. We also had quite a few older, widowed or single men come along, which was pleasantly surprising as it turns out there’s a lot of isolation where we live. Some people said they had initially come along because they’d been attracted by the free food on offer but had left getting something different from the event, like conversation with someone they’d not met before.”
Want to join us next year?
We’re already planning next year’s celebrations.
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