In collaboration with Migration Yorkshire, The Jo Cox Foundation supported migrant and refugee communities to run over 15 Great Get Together events in the region last month.
Inspired by the message in Jo Cox’s maiden speech in Parliament – ”We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us” – Great Get Together events are an opportunity for communities to come together and make new connections. While the main Great Get Together weekend takes place annually in June, this year The Jo Cox Foundation worked with Migration Yorkshire to support communities to also run events in the run-up to the Yorkshire Integration Festival at the end of September.
The Great Get Together events that took place 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
- Primavera Latina, a gathering organised by a group of people from different Latin American countries living in Leeds
- A tea party in Wakefield for the Hongkonger community
- A celebration in Sheffield of Congolese, Burundian, Rwandese and Tanzanian cultures through dance and song
Small grants were provided to individuals and groups to support the running of their events, with the ultimate aim that the events help migrants and refugees in Yorkshire to make meaningful connections with people in their local community.
We were delighted by the variety of event ideas that people came up with and the willingness of community members and organisations to collaborate to make these events happen. Across Yorkshire, we saw an incredible range of events that reflected different interests – from badminton, to board games, and food-sharing – which all helped people to make new connections, inspired by Jo Cox’s ‘more in common’ message.Zoe Cumberland, Head of Community Programmes at The Jo Cox Foundation
The events were a fantastic opportunity for people who have migrated to the Yorkshire and Humber region, including those from Hong Kong, to meet and make meaningful connections with people from different backgrounds. They showed that those settling in our region are keen to share their skills, interests and culture with their neighbours and become part of their local communities with some support along the way.Ewa Jamróz, policy, data and development officer at Migration Yorkshire and Hong Kong Welcome Programme lead
Penny, who helped organise Horsforth Sanctuary Supper, said:
“Horsforth Town of Sanctuary organised a well-attended Great Get Together on 22nd September. There was a lovely mix of people, including community leaders, Ukrainian families and people seeking asylum who are housed locally. There was international food from Yemen, Namibia and Sudan, as well as inspiring talks from three people seeking sanctuary who shared their experiences and culture.”
Pui Yin (Helen), who organised a Great Get Together event in Wakefield where people drew portraits of each other, said:
“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.”
The Jo Cox Foundation will next be inspiring community events as part of the Great Winter Get Together in January and the Great Get Together weekend, which will take place 21-23 June 2024.
The Jo Cox Foundation makes meaningful change on issues that the late Jo Cox MP was passionate about. The charity works in three areas: nurturing stronger communities, championing respect in politics and advocating for a fairer world. Underpinning this work is the understanding that we have more in common than that which divides us. Jo Cox was murdered on 16 June 2016 in the place she loved – Batley and Spen – doing the work she loved, as an MP on behalf of her constituents.
Migration Yorkshire supports people and organisations to achieve the most positive outcomes of migration for everyone in the Yorkshire and Humber region. We provide leadership and coordination, evidence, and practical assistance to organisations from all sectors at local, regional, and national level. We believe in improving understanding, supporting the integration of migrants and maximising opportunities for all to create a more equal and enriched society. Migration Yorkshire is a partnership of councils working across the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region and is based in Leeds. Visit the Migration Yorkshire website at migrationyorkshire.org.uk, email [email protected] or call 0113 378 8188.