The More in Common Birmingham group used some very creative ways to get people connected during the COVID pandemic.
In 2020 during the first lockdown period, hundreds of people made red and white mandalas and hanging them in public places across the city with the message I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF COMMUNITY on display. 1000 packs were made up and sent to people’s homes, including through Covid-19 emergency response services.
A team of crafters were brought together to crochet and macramé coasters which went into handmade gift bags, along with a tea bag and some treats, and a card made by a school child or young person involved in Scouting and Guiding. Over 500 gift bags were then distributed to residents in care homes – this was the WE CARE COASTERS campaign.
The Birmingham Scout and Guide More in Common Badge was launched during Interfaith Week in November 2020 by Kim Leadbeater MP, Jo Cox’s sister. The ethos of the badge is to encourage Scouts and Guides to show compassion, kindness and friendship to others, and to reach out across our diverse communities.
All Scout and Guide age groups can carry out activities to achieve the badge. Activities include: making and sending a card to a care home; writing a poem about the Covid-19 pandemic; talking to someone of your own age of a different faith, with a disability, or born outside of UK to find out what life is like for them; and supporting a local foodbank.
A fabric badge has been designed, to be sewn onto Scout and Guide uniforms. The group awarded the 1000th badge in May 2022 to the 293 St Faiths and St Laurence Beaver Scouts for clearing up their local church grounds and contributing to their local foodbank.
Members of the More In Common organising group have all been involved with the summer Great Get Together event since it started in 2017. As a group they promote the values that Jo Cox MP embodied. Mahmooda Qureshi explained,
“We look for ways to bring people who are different from each other together in our streets, in community venues and outdoors and we share and welcome ideas in our Facebook group about how collectively we can build stronger, more inclusive communities. Birmingham is such a multicultural city and we are really proud of our diversity. All our activity to date as a More In Common group has been delivered during the pandemic including two Get Together events on zoom”.
The Birmingham group ran a stall in the city centre to encourage other people to get involved in the movement and are planning a Great Get Together in June 2022.