The Great Get Together 2020 was like no other. Street parties, picnics and sports days weren’t possible due to the coronavirus lockdown, but that didn’t stop people making connections within their community through socially distanced plant swaps, food bank collections and cuppas with neighbours.
Despite these difficult circumstances, we saw people across the UK (and the world!) show their creativity to create their own activities to celebrate the power of community. We also harnessed this creativity to adapt some of our events that would usually take place in person to make them either virtual, or accessible anywhere, which was a real success.
“Isn’t it amazing what we can achieve, even when we can’t gather physically? Thank you!” - Laura Henderson, founder of More in Common, Llantwit Major.
In the press
Even though the coronavirus limited people to socially distant activities, polling showed a very high level of recognition for the Great Get Together from its launch on 19 May to its culmination on 21 June. Over a third (34%) of people had heard of the event, with 13% reporting that they had attended a Great Get Together.
- Over the month of the campaign we had 40 million social media impressions – an increase of 7 million on 2019
- There were approximately 65 articles in press and online media, with 98 mentions on TV and radio
- Coverage was both national and regional, including BBC News, ITV News, The Sun, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Daily Mirror, a number of BBC radio stations and Talk Radio
- A series of films we produced in the run up to the event were viewed over 250,000 times on YouTube
- Jo Cox’s sister appeared on numerous news channels on the anniversary of Jo Cox’s murder to discuss the Great Get Together. Programmes included BBC News, ITV News, Sky News, Radio 4 and Talk Radio
In the community
- The Community service on Saturday morning featured contributions from a number of senior religious figures and to date has been viewed over 5,000 times on Facebook
- Sunday’s Run for Jo was a huge success. The Strava group had well over 700 members, and we estimate over 1,000 people took part, including in Australia and Vietnam
- The school assembly resource has been shared across our schools networks and has been viewed 2,000 times on Facebook
Great Get Together organisers have always shown an imaginative flair when it comes to organising events, but this year really put their creativity to the test. Thankfully they were up to the challenge.
- An online quiz in Dartford based around famous women in politics and history
- Deliveries of picnic boxes in Harrogate to those isolating or shielding
- An online dialogue held by Interfaith Scotland, focused on tackling racism and standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement
- A socially distanced street party in Llanwit for a couple whose wedding had been cancelled
- To hear more about one organiser’s weekend, check out Laura Bevan’s blog here
We had great support from existing and new partners who supported us either by promoting the Great Get Together to their networks, or by hosting a unique community-focused event. Key partnerships included:
- We worked extremely closely with the Marmalade Trust and the DCMS around Loneliness Awareness Week. We produced a co-branded toolkit with the Marmalade Trust around tackling loneliness, as well as making a film about using the Great Get Together as a way to connect to tackle isolation
- Visit my Mosque day went virtual with the Muslim Council of Britain running online tours of mosques around the UK
- Bankside Open Spaces Trust moved their usual festivities to the airwaves, broadcasting throughout the day on Sunday 21st to over 10,000 listeners
- The Mirror timed their Britain Connects activity to mark the weekend. They matched 100s of people to have conversations about their lives, their differences, and what they had in common. We also used the opportunity of the first weekend of the Premier League return to generate some Britain Connects football content
In your words
“It will be really special in this time of pandemic with many feeling excluded or isolated, to be able to ‘join together’ in this way as part of the Great Get Together weekend. People of difference joining together and sharing across the country.” - Revd Canon Mark Umpleby, Associate Priest in the United Benefice of Batley
“We’re all about trying to get the community together and being neighbourly in whatever way that might be, so The Great Get Together encompasses our ethos. We don’t know how many people will get involved, but we just feel it’s a good way to put that message out there for people and let them know that the Great Get Together weekend is on. Particularly at the moment, it’s even more important for people to realise that we’re more alike than we are different.” - Catherine Lacey, Lockerbie
“Now more than ever it is vital to remind people of Jo Cox’s unifying words, her ‘more in common’ message and how timely the Great Get Together is. That’s why I’m supporting this year’s event.” - Andy Serkis, actor