Thousands of Great Get Togethers have happened across the UK, but what actually happens at a Great Get Together? Here are the stories of a range of Great Get Togethers to give you a flavour of just how great the annual event is.
North Walsham Library
Libraries do all manner of brilliant things to help their communities; but for the Great Get Together 2019, North Walsham Library went one step further.
They held community jigsaws and story time, built lasting connections with existing library members, and welcomed a whole heap of new ones. What’s more, they did it all to a background of live music and delicious food.
“Drinking tea and eating homemade cakes… I’ve been singing, dancing and having a great time.”
“(A library regular) said we must have the musicians here again. They made the atmosphere very uplifted and jolly.”
“(Another regular) had been feeling very low, and she was so pleased she came today. The last couple of hours really lifted her spirits.”
Belfast’s Summer Ukulele Music and BBQ Extravaganza
If any event name deserves a round of applause, it’s ‘Summer Ukulele Music and BBQ Extravaganza’. And the guys at Leonard Cheshire certainly delivered, with a fun-filled evening of delicious food and wonderful music.
A brilliant team of Leonard Cheshire staff, residents, and volunteers hosted the event at one of their supported living services in Belfast.
“We believe diversity brings opportunity. Our Great Get Together event is a chance to bring people of all abilities together, to celebrate all that we have in common, and reduce the isolation many disabled people experience.”
The Great Manchester Get Together
Manchester’s vibrant LGBT scene provided the perfect backdrop for 2019’s Great Get Together. Alongside the usual celebrations of community spirit, there were guided LGBT history tours, a “Sharing Stories of Activism” group, and hands-on demonstrations from LGBT-inclusive sports clubs.
And of course, it wouldn’t have been a Great Get Together without a cake-filled picnic in the park, complete with rainbow picnic blankets.
During Ramadan, Muslims break their daily fast with Iftars – getting together with family, friends or the wider community to eat, pray and reflect. It is also a time where Muslims traditionally pay particular attention to how they can serve their community.
“We are living in a time where there is some hate around, therefore it is very important that we as human beings remain together and care for one another.”
“We are remembering Jo and we’re also remembering what she stood for, about bringing communities together. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn a little bit more.”
Oxford Eid Extravaganza
In Oxford a group of volunteers held the second Oxford Eid Extravaganza, for people of all faiths to Get Together to celebrate the end of Ramadan and get to know each other better. Over 5,000 people attended from around Oxford – double their first year’s attendance.
“I’ve got a child who is from a mixed heritage, it’s really important to me for him to see that people from different backgrounds can come together and actually have a lot of empathy and understanding of each others lives.”
Birmingham School Get Together
Friday 22nd June was a day in which schools across the country learned celebrated The Great Get Together and everything we have in common.
Amazingly in Birmingham 12 schools got together in one place to learn about Jo Cox’ legacy
“The children began to realise the diversity of their own city, and then as importantly decided to gather together and create pledges in partnership.”
Walk a Mile for Refugees
In Cambridge, SOS Children’s Village held a Get Together as part of their ‘Walk a Mile’ campaign. They invited members of the local community to consider what it would be like to be a young person fleeing for their life by walking ‘in their shoes’ and then to take some time to get to know each other and strengthen the bonds of the community.
“Half of all refugees are children. They are travelling hundreds of miles in search of a safe place to call home, yet all too often they are received with prejudice and distrust by the countries they turn to for sanctuary.”
Lesley’s Rooftop Get Together
Lesley has brought together two different sets of neighbours in 2017 and 2018.
Getting to know people who share her building has made the move to a new area easier for her too!
“It was a great diverse mix and I looked around proud that I’d brought all these people together. Some hadn’t ever spoken to a neighbour or didn’t even know who their neighbours were!”
“It’s made a real difference in our building. One neighbour was really poorly recently and we took her food and checked up on her (she lives alone). Another rescued me when a mouse was spotted in my flat.”
Making connections with our neighbours doesn’t need to be complicated. Julie organised her Get Together only weeks before the big day.
“There was no event locally, I knew I would have to do something myself… I have actually felt empowered by my involvement and I am proud of what we achieved. It has been a huge boost of confidence.”
“Lots of people have told me that it was really good to have an opportunity to talk properly to people they had barely said hello to before, sometimes people just need an excuse to be friendly.
Syrian Iftar in memory of Mohammed Al Hajali
The Get Together in Chalk Farm was originally organised to raise awareness of the adversity faced by Syrian refugees in the community, and to remember Jo Cox who advocated for them in parliament on many occasions.
However just a week before the event, one of the volunteer organisers, also a Syrian refugee, was killed in the Grenfell Tower Fire.
“It felt more important than ever to share this event, to honour those who were lost in Grenfell, remember the values of Jo Cox and emphasis there is more in common between refugees and non-refugees.”
“Among the attendees were a family of Syrian refugees who survived the fire, as they paid tribute to their friend it was inspiring to see they were still here.”