2023 has been a busy and productive year for The Jo Cox Foundation, as we continue to make meaningful change on issues that Jo was passionate about. We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our supporters this year, especially the Friends of the Foundation, who give a monthly donation to make our work possible. Regular donations – of any amount – are incredibly important for us as a small charity, as they help us to plan long-term.
To mark the end of the year, these are five achievements that we are particularly proud of:
1) Running the Jo Cox Civility Commission and preparing to launch the recommendations
In February we launched the Jo Cox Civility Commission, dedicated to finding implementable solutions to the problem of abuse and intimidation of elected politicians, which is a growing threat to our democracy. Since then we’ve worked with over 100 stakeholders to learn more about the extent of the problem and identify a range of practical recommendations to tackle it. We will be launching these recommendations in the new year, so look out for an update in January.
2) Developing More in Common partnerships and securing funding for the More in Common Network to grow
Through the More in Common Network, we’re building a movement of people who are skilled and confident in identifying and bridging divides. In 2022, we supported the formation of More in Common partnerships in Cardiff and Nottingham. Unlike our More in Common groups, which focus on individual volunteers, partnerships bring organisations from an area together (which could include local councils, police, charities, youth groups) so that they can take a coordinated approach to local social issues. In 2023, we successfully secured funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to enable us to expand this model. We’re already working with a number of potential new partners, and planning for more expansion over the coming years.
3) Empowering refugee and migrant communities to run Great Get Together events, in partnership with Migration Yorkshire
In collaboration with Migration Yorkshire, we supported migrant and refugee communities to run over 15 Great Get Together events in the region in September, in the run-up to the Yorkshire Migration Festival. Events included a day trip to Scarborough for asylum seekers, refugees and other vulnerable migrants from across Leeds and Wakefield to experience the famous British seaside and a celebration in Sheffield of Congolese, Burundian, Rwandese and Tanzanian cultures through dance and song.
It was well received by the community of Wakefield, and I am happy to see how art can bridge people together. We all smile in the same language and have a good time together with different colours and learn about the diversity of culture here.Pui Yin (Helen), who organised a Great Get Together event in Wakefield where people drew portraits of each other.
4) Sharing what we’ve learnt about how community events can lead to long-term change
This summer saw the end of our Moment to Movement project (2020-2023), funded by Spirit of 2012, in which we worked to understand how the spark of an event can lead to longer-term engagement in communities. From the past three years of running the Great Get Together and the More in Common Network, we drew together the five key learnings from the project in our final report which we’ve shared with policymakers, funders, and the wider community sector. We’re determined for this important evidence to have a wider impact, even though the funding period has ended.
5) Supporting the people who are working to strengthen communities and reduce loneliness
Since we founded the Connection Coalition in the early months of the pandemic, we have supported those working on topics including loneliness and social connection. With the unfolding of the cost of living crisis, and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, we’re still here supporting practitioners. This year, we ran a dedicated ‘Community of Practice’, working with a small group to address the challenges they face in their work, as well as continuing to run ‘Informal Get Togethers’ monthly to support the wellbeing of those working in this area. Participants have told us what an impact this has had on them personally:
Thank you, I have been very productive since our informal gathering, it was akin to shaking away the cobwebs and enabled me to focus to see the trees from within the overgrown wood.Attendee at an Informal Get Together
At a time when so many in my sector are suffering with compassion fatigue, unprecedented demands and ever growing financial pressures, this safe space with compassionate and caring peers has been a true sanctuary.Participant in the Community of Practice
Thank you again for your support this year. 2024 is set to be a big year for the Foundation, as we begin campaigning on the Jo Cox Civility Commission recommendations, and support communities to run Great Get Togethers in June, on the weekend that would have been Jo Cox’s 50th birthday.
We’ll be starting the new year with a celebration as the Great Winter Get Together takes place 12-15 January and will provide places for meaningful connection this winter. Find out how you can be part of it.
To stay up to date with our work in 2024, sign up today for our monthly supporter newsletter.