The Connection Coalition was formed in April 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We brought together a network of organisations that were supporting individuals and communities through the pandemic as they faced intensified social and emotional crises including loneliness, mental health issues and bereavement.
In doing this we hoped to coordinate and amplify efforts to reinforce meaningful connections and to help mitigate the impact of isolation on social and emotional wellbeing throughout Covid-19 and beyond. In 2020 we recruited over 800 member organisations, sent over 25 newsletters packed with helpful resources, updates and ideas, ran webinars for over 400 people (some of which you can still view here) and reached millions through our Community Makes Us campaign.
Member numbers have continued to grow and in consultation with members, it is clear that there is a desire for the Connection Coalition to continue as we navigate our way into the post-lockdown period and harness the power of strong relationships and connections for the future. Our focus until October 2021 will be to provide spaces and opportunities for member organisations to come together to learn and share through specific interest groups, creating platforms to enable members to see the bigger picture beyond their own work and get support from others working towards similar goals.
“I personally really enjoyed being able to speak to other people working and supporting their communities and actually take some time out to smile about things as we connect. So thank you for that because I hear so many of us say we feel like we have lost ourselves a little at the moment.”
What impact does the Connection Coalition seek?
Committed to strengthening human relationships and connections in communities during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond, we aim to:
- Inspire people to build and maintain relationships and connections in their communities;
- Encourage people to carry forward relationships and connectedness with them into the post-crisis period, helping to tackle loneliness and social isolation in their communities, and to reduce the associated stigma;
- Influence organisations, funders and the Government to invest financially and in policies which prioritise the power of relationships and connectedness.
Our latest project: Unlocking Connection
Since 2021, Meta has partnered with the Connection Coalition to provide small grants to members who want to test ideas and ways to build connections and
community through the pandemic and beyond. In the second round of grants in 2022, we gave a total of £10,000 to 10 Connection Coalition members. By bringing together and summarising our learning from the 2022 programme, this report aims to achieve the following:
- Share the main learnings that emerged on
creating connections and where to find further
resources and inspiration.
- Paint a bigger picture of the work
organisations are doing, particularly the
challenges faced and the opportunities
- Highlight the work of the participating
Connection Coalition members.
To discover the impact and what we learnt, read the Unlocking Connections Report.
Who are the Members of the Connection Coalition?
Our 800+ Connection Coalition members are based across the UK, operating locally, regionally and nationally. The majority are small community based organisations, with over half of member organisations having fewer than 10 staff members and a turnover less than £250k. Around half of member organisations work specifically to tackle loneliness and social isolation, with many specifically working with older or younger members of the population. Members also work to address mental health, domestic violence, digital exclusion, dementia and heritage protection. For a snapshot of some of our members check out The Friendly Bench, the Rural Coffee Caravan, Grow Cardiff, Do it Now Now, Grandnanny, and Marmalade Trust. A full list of our members is available here.
“Felt like a peer support group - useful whilst the pace of work remains relentless.”
What will the Connection Coalition do?
Until October 2022, our focus is on increasing capabilities, opportunities and motivation of our members, by providing spaces and opportunities for them to come together to learn and share. This includes:
- Convening and facilitating special interest groups based around issues most relevant to our members, for example youth loneliness, intergenerational connection and returning to service provision in a Covid-19 world.
- Facilitating informal networking spaces for members to share challenges and learning, for example via our Facebook Group and regular lunchtime informal get togethers.
- Working with the special interest groups to share their ideas, suggestions and recommendations, offering opportunities to escalate them on a national level through advocacy and promotion.
Can I sign up? And how?
If you are an organisation, charity, group or company or any other organised entity and share our belief that our communities are strengthened by strong relationships and connections, we’d love you to join us. In signing up you’ll be part of a growing network of those who share your belief in the power of connection. We look forward to working with you to share, learn, act and connect together.
“As the rep of a small organisation it is good to feel part of something bigger and more influential”