This is a guest blog from James Austin of the Jo Cox Foundation.
‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us’
When Jo Cox said this during her maiden speech in the House of Commons she didn’t know how iconic it would become. It was a simple statement of values, made by a woman who had spent her entire life campaigning for and living them.
After Jo’s murder her family and friends came together to run the Great Get Together – not to mourn but instead to celebrate. To celebrate her life, her values and the way she’d changed the world for the better. To share the message that we had more in common and to show that hate wouldn’t win.
The first Great Get Together was a massive success with millions turning out to bring Jo’s #moreincommon message to life. It was a massive rebuke to the hate which had led her to be killed and a celebration of what Britain should be.
The initial intention for the Great Get Together was for it to be a one off, but such was its power and success we decided to host it the next year. And the next. For many communities and workplaces it became part of their annual calendar for events demonstrating Jo’s message year after year. Menzies Distribution, for example, are running a coffee morning in each of their depots to give a chance for staff to come together and fundraise for worthy causes.
Some groups went further, organising community events around Jo’s #moreincommon message all year round. By joining our More in Common Network, these groups receive support from The Jo Cox Foundation and connect with other groups around the country. More in Common Llantwit, for example, organise events to bring their community together throughout the year, running a ‘chatty cafe’ to support those at risk of loneliness, seed and plant shares and walks to bring their community together.
It is through these sort of small acts that Jo’s legacy is kept alive. Day after day, year after year workplaces, communities and charities come together to show that we really do have more in common.
This year’s Great Get Together is built around the theme of welcome; celebrating the practical things that communities do to welcome new people and come together. Whether it be Union reps welcoming new employees to their workplace, community groups running social events or sports clubs running taster days, we want to celebrate it!
We’re also working with Refugee Week to run the Great Walk Together as part of the Great Get Together weekend, encouraging people to run walks to connect with new people and to reflect on the journeys refugees face. Walking is a fantastic, simple way to bring people together to talk, share experiences and explore their local area.
We’d love for Community reps and workplaces to run a Great Get Together this year. To me, Jo’s message of #moreincommon lies at the heart of trade unionism and is the sort of approach we want to foster in workplaces. Whether it’s running a lunchtime walk, a coffee morning or a fundraiser, the Great Get Together is a fantastic way to bring a workplace together. If you’d like more information, and to register your Great Get Together, go to greatgettogether.org/2022. If you have any questions please drop us a email or sign up to one of our Great Plan Together webinars.
If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 389 6332.