The first ever Great Get Together proved to be a wonderful tribute to Jo’s message that we really do have more in common. Forming the start of new relationships and helping to building closer communities, the nationwide gathering brought people together across the country from over the weekend of 16 to 18 June.
It was even bigger than the 2012 Jubilee celebrations according to our partner, The Big Lunch, and truly one of the largest community celebrations to ever happen in Britain.
National polling showcased events in every region of the country, with the most taking place in Yorkshire and London. Batley & Spen, Jo’s constituency, was at the heart of the celebrations. Thousands of people took part in wide-ranging activities from a memorial in Birstall to a town square fun bus, an Iftar in the centre of the town and a fun day at the Batley Bulldogs.
In fact, thousands of you told us that the Great Get Together has helped to build closer communities.
- 59% said that before the weekend, they didn’t know many of their neighbours or knew none at all
- An incredible 83% said you met someone new
- 50% revealed that spending time with their local community and neighbours was the best part of the weekend
- A number of new initiatives have been born out of Get Togethers, from book groups to football clubs, new residents associations and ‘meals in heels’ services to support older neighbours
- Hundreds of people mentioned that their children are now playing with other children on the street, when they didn’t before
- Most excitingly, 78% said they felt more hopeful about Britain after the weekend
In the press
- Across the entire campaign, 1,240 articles were published about the Great Get Together
- 7 million people watched a video showcasing what we were doing on Facebook – enough to fill Wembley Stadium over 77 times
- Channel 4 commissioned a two hour special of the weekly comedy show, The Last Leg, themed around The Great Get Together. Over 3.5 million people watched and 6 million viewed clips on Facebook
A number of celebrities also featured in a specially-produced video including Ed Sheeran, Nadiya Hussain, Claire Balding, Helen Mirren, Adil Ray, June Sarpong, Stephen Fry, Andy Murray, Bill Nighy, Michael Sheen, Lily Allen and Andrew Marr, while Jamie Oliver was a key advocate throughout the campaign.
In the community
Polling showed that an amazing 40% of the population had heard of The Great Get Together, and a strong majority of those believed it was a positive thing. The top three reasons for this belief were:
- It’s good to remember Jo Cox and her belief that we have more in common
- It’s good for people to get to know their neighbours and spend time with them
- It’s good for people to get to know new and different people
The Great Get Together also helped display a strong and unified response to tragedy in Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens and by Borough Market, both of which had recently experienced terrorist attacks.
These events were particularly poignant as they demonstrated standing together and reclaiming public space. In Manchester, many stall holders told us the events were a powerful symbol of moving from grief to positivity.
In your words
This message of unity was felt across the country, with people from all walks of life coming together to find that they have more in common.
“It was so great that since the street party, I’ve also helped to set up a book group and a netball club. Someone at the first book group said ‘I really appreciate this. I don’t know people and I really want to.’ I hope it all makes people’s worlds a bit bigger.”
“Thank you so very much for this opportunity to come together. We’ve had serious social problems on the street, especially with one violent family. However the street party was very uniting. The night before the party, everyone came to hang out the bunting between the lamp posts and it was really special. We had Jo Cox and her family in our hearts and it gave us an opportunity to stand up and say what was important.”
“An 84-year-old came to our Get Together who had never visited a mosque before. She said she has been hesitant about coming, but now she wondered why she had never done it before and that she hoped to come back for a future event.”