News and Updates
Anger over Brexit must not be allowed to spill over into violence
30th August 2019
Leaders of the Jo Cox Foundation will be taking part in the Big Tent Ideas Festival in London tomorrow (Saturday). In a statement ahead of the event, Rt Hon Jacqui Smith (Chair), Catherine Anderson (CEO) and Kim Leadbeater (Jo’s sister and Ambassador for the Foundation) said:
‘Emotions are running very high across the country this weekend with many people extremely angry about the latest parliamentary moves over Brexit. While this is understandable, we are concerned that this anger should not spill over into something more dangerous.
‘It is not for us to make a judgement on the tactics being employed by the government or by its opponents, but we have a duty to remind everyone of the risks of fueling extremism if people begin to lose faith in the democratic process.
‘The Jo Cox Foundation would not exist but for an act of unforgivable political violence. We have a responsibility never to forget that stoking grievances and prejudice through inflammatory language creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that can lead to calamitous results.
‘People have an absolute right to protest, whether in parliament, on demonstrations or in the media. We believe strongly in freedom of speech. But we would urge everybody to avoid saying or doing anything that could incite or lead to violence.
‘However bitterly we may disagree over the coming days and weeks, we should be ready to acknowledge that behind all the rhetoric both sides believe they are acting in the best interests of the county.
‘At some point we are going to have to come together again. That is in all our interests. So nobody should be speaking or acting in a way that makes that process more difficult.
‘Jo reminded us that we have “more in common than that which divides us.” For us, ‘More In Common’ it is not just a slogan. It may not feel like it right now, but it is crucial not to lose sight of the truth it contains. That sentiment will be essential to the process of restoring the trust and mutual respect necessary to heal the wounds and re-establish confidence in our robust but courteous democratic traditions.’
UK Announces approach to preventing mass atrocities
16th july 2019
Today the UK announced its approach to preventing mass atrocities with a policy paper covering 3 key commitments:
A strong commitment to do more
Jo cared deeply about preventing violence and protecting people around the world, advocating tirelessly for the UK government to uphold its responsibility to protect civilians in conflict and prevent identity-based violence. The Jo Cox Foundation believe this policy is a vital and hugely positive step for UK contributions to atrocity prevention.
Statement on the third anniversary of Jo’s murder
16th June 2019
Speaking on the third anniversary of the murder of the MP Jo Cox, her sister has called for the country to unite and celebrate the many positive things we share and remember all that we have in common.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s three years since Jo was killed. I still can’t think about that day and the pain doesn’t go away. But I’m determined to do all I can to follow Jo’s example and remain positive and focused on what we can all do to bring the country back together.
“Like Jo, I’m a people person and as an Ambassador for her Foundation I talk to people from all walks of life. I know I talk a lot, but I listen a lot as well. And what I hear is that most people are keen to move beyond the anger and bitterness that we see and hear all around us.
“Jo’s words in her first speech in parliament, when she said we are more united and have more in common than that which divides us, are as true today as they were then. Maybe even more so.
“We are working hard to create a powerful legacy for Jo by bringing people and communities together, and encouraging conversations and understanding. The huge amount of support from all across the country for The Great Get Together next weekend, on what would have been Jo’s birthday, shows that there is a real desire to set aside our differences and remember what unites us.
“Jo’s murder hit our family harder than anyone can know. But we were comforted by the way in which so many people responded with love and an understanding that it was more than just an attack on a wonderful mother, daughter and sister.
“Everybody agreed that we needed a calmer, kinder politics where we treat each other with respect and where violence or the threat of violence had no place. Today it feels like all that has been forgotten and the language of politics has become even more brutal and toxic.
“Personal insults and vicious verbal abuse are in danger of been normalised. Candidates, MPs and others in public life are subject to intimidation and physical attacks so regularly it has almost become commonplace. I worry that we have learnt nothing from what happened to Jo, and I would hate any other family to have to go through what we have been through, and continue to go through, every day.
“For me, the best answer is for all of us to show that we are better than that. This weekend will be difficult for us as a family but we will get through it by remembering how lucky we were to have had Jo in our lives. And next weekend we will be joining many thousands of people all over the country in celebrating everything we have in common through The Great Get Together. You can easily find out what’s going on near you and there is still time to organise something in your own street or community.
“As I said, I’m focusing on the positive, and would like to say a big thank you to everybody who is taking part and remembering Jo with us. Whatever you are doing, have a great get together.”
Intimidation in Public Life: a joint approach to tackling intimidation
21st May 2019
Lord Evans, Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has today written to the leaders of all Westminster parties to say that The Jo Cox Foundation will act as independent support in efforts to agree a cross-party approach to tackling intimidation.
Lord Evans said:
“I am delighted that The Jo Cox Foundation has undertaken to act as independent support to help make further progress towards a common approach to tackle intimidation and abuse during election campaigns.
“It is important to democracy that individuals standing for public office or campaigning are able to so without fear of intimidation. From our meetings with them, it’s clear that the political parties have done a great deal of work internally to address intimidatory behaviour and improve their own processes to call out and address unacceptable behaviour where they can. Building on that, there is goodwill and commitment from the political parties at Westminster to make further joint progress.”
Read the full press release here.
BLOG: Jo Cox paid with her life but politicians now live in daily fear of attack
7th May 2019
What have we come to in this country when candidates report physical attacks and death threats while out campaigning in local elections? Three years ago when my friend Jo Cox was murdered during the referendum campaign the world was shocked.
It was rightly seen as an abomination and an affront to our democracy. Yet since then violence and intimidation against people in public life have escalated to a terrifying degree. We cannot go on like this.
Read the full blog here.
Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith appointed to chair the Jo Cox Foundation
1st may 2019
The Jo Cox Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of the Rt. Hon Jacqui Smith as its new Chair. Jacqui takes over with immediate effect and replaces Nick Grono, who has served the board with great distinction since the Foundation was established.
Jacqui said: “I’m enormously excited and honoured to be taking over as Chair of the Jo Cox Foundation at such a challenging and important time. Never has Jo’s message that we have ‘more in common than that which divides us’ been more relevant. Many people feel that this is a divided country with an increasingly toxic level of public debate. Jo wouldn’t have stood for that. She would have reached out and built a movement for positive change – strengthening local communities, leading respectful national debate and advocating for a fairer world. I’m going to use my national experience and the inspiration of having known Jo to support the Foundation in delivering some really exciting plans over the coming years. I’m looking forward to meeting all of those who share Jo’s vision and who want to work with us to make it happen.”
Jacqui’s appointment was welcomed by the Foundation’s CEO, Catherine Anderson:
"We are truly thrilled and very fortunate to have Jacqui Smith join our board as the next Chair of The Jo Cox Foundation. She brings a real depth of experience and connection to Jo - as a mentor to Jo on the Labour Women's Network, as a woman in public life herself, and through her work both nationally and in communities in the UK. Jacqui will be helping to guide and shape the Foundation's work at this exciting time, particularly on our work on intimidation in public life and women in public life. I can't wait to work closely with her on all of the issues that mattered to Jo - and to continue to build a truly positive, transformative legacy for Jo."
Kim Leadbeater, Jo’s sister, said:
"We are delighted to have Jacqui join as chair of Jo's Foundation. For my parents and I it means a lot that somebody with such a wealth of experience and enthusiasm is heading our board. Jo knew Jacqui and respected her enormously so she really is the perfect person for the role.”
Jacqui Smith was MP for Redditch from 1997-2010 and was Britain’s first female Home Secretary. She currently works in health, social care and international political development and is regularly appears in the media discussing politics, current affairs and social policy.
The Foundation’s board, team and Jo’s family would like to thank Nick for his inspiring leadership over the past 2 and a half years.
The Jo Cox way 2019
26th april 2019
The 4th Jo Cox Way bike ride will run from 24th-28th July 2019.
This exciting cycling challenge begins in Jo’s constituency of Batley and Spen and rolls through the beautiful English countryside culminating in Parliament Square in London 5 days later.
The journey symbolises Jo's personal journey from her childhood in Yorkshire to representing her home constituency in parliament as MP for Batley and Spen.
Through the ride, 50+ cyclists will be connecting communities across the UK using the power of 2 wheels and celebrating the #MoreInCommon values that Rt. Hon. Jo Cox MP championed throughout her life.
Anyone can get involved, be it through cycling the full route, joining for one day of the ride, cheering cyclists along the way, welcoming cyclists to Westminster, helping the support crew or raising awareness about fundraising.
Find out more about the ride here.
Share the fundraising page here.
Get in touch with us at email@example.com for help and info.
Follow @thejocoxway for updates
Together we are keeping alive Jo's legacy and celebrating the countless selfless activities that people undertake in their communities in Jo’s memory.
Blog: Violent threats against MPs put lives and democracy at risk
3rd March 2019
A film of British soldiers peppering an image of Jeremy Corbyn’s head with bullets under the caption ‘happy with that’ would be horrendous at any time. On the day the leader of the opposition sat down with the prime minister to discuss our nation’s future, it was all the more offensive.
It makes no difference whether the troops were using simulation weapons or not. Equally, their political beliefs are beside the point. Because it is abusive and intimidating behaviour like this that can lead to tragedies such as Jo’s murder. Yes, it is right that our political leaders are subject to fierce criticism. That is part of strong, democratic debate, but the recent catalogue of attacks on politicians is of a different order.
Only on Wednesday, thanks to the courage of an undercover whistle-blower, we know of the plot by an extreme right-wing nationalist to murder MP Rosie Cooper. The murder of Jo Cox three years ago should remind us every day that violent language and hate-filled sentiments can never be dismissed as harmless. They are not.
Read the full blog here.
KIM LEADBEATER’s STATEMENT ON THE Christchurch mosque attacks
15th March 2019
Our hearts go out to the people of Christchurch and to the victims, survivors and all those caught up in an attack on the Muslim community. But we know it could have been any of us. Hatred doesn’t discriminate.
Six years ago I was lucky enough to spend several weeks travelling all across New Zealand. It’s hard to imagine a more open, welcoming, generous country. Then Christchurch was rebuilding after the terrible earthquake. Today they are coming together again with the same resilience and determination never to be broken by tragedy.
We can’t take away their pain, but by letting them know we stand with them we can prove the haters wrong.
BLOG: CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
8th March 2018
One of Jo’s most powerful qualities was her ability to lead collaboratively, and nowhere was this truer than in her feminism.
Jo was that rare person who could both encourage and empower, a woman whose activism was infectious and whose firmly-held values inspired you, even if you’d never met her, to act.
And so many women have been inspired by Jo’s example.
Tackling the intimidation and harassment of mps
8th january 2019
The violent language and threatening behaviour exhibited towards MPs, journalists and others outside the Houses of Parliament this week have rightly drawn condemnation across the political spectrum. At the Jo Cox Foundation we are acutely aware of the appalling consequences that can follow if violence against politicians going about their work is taken to the extreme.
Jo believed passionately in freedom of expression and healthy, vigorous debate. She also believed that we should be able to conduct those debates without resorting to personal abuse or seeking to provoke hatred and division in society. Now, more than ever, we feel it is essential to bring political discourse in this country back within the bounds of respectful debate and away from any form of intimidation or the threat of violence.
Learn more about what we have achieved since 2016 to build more inclusive, compassionate communities and to support women entering a career in public life.
Tackling loneliness this december through #Mincepiemoments
18th DECEMBER 2018
This year’s Great Christmas Get Together is off to a fantastic start, with people across the country coming together to share a #MincePieMoment. We are thrilled to see people reaching out to those in their community who may be feeling lonely at this time of year and in doing so, helping to build more connected communities.
From London to Yorkshire, the pictures we have received and stories we have heard are a testament to Jo’s belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.
Last week, we were delighted to welcome MPs from all sides to our Mince Pie Moments Parliamentary reception, to share experiences and celebrate the progress made since Jo founded the Loneliness Commission over 2 years ago during her time as an MP.
Mims Davies MP, the new Minister for Loneliness, emphasised the need to work collaboratively to tackle loneliness, sharing:
“The message here is #MoreInCommon and more than ever before, we need to be cross-party, cross-chamber, and cross-country.”
Kim Leadbeater, Jo’s sister shared:
“Even in the middle of chaos and uncertainty, there are always things we can do to make a difference, especially when it comes to loneliness.”
There is still time for you to take part and we have highlighted plenty of suggestions of how to get started on the Great Get Together website. You can follow our loneliness advent calendar for daily simple actions that can make a big difference.
Tips include calling an old friend, inviting your neighbours for dinner or volunteering with some of the fantastic loneliness-tackling initiatives around the country.
We would love for you spread the message by using #MincePieMoments on social media and look at what others are doing for further inspiration.
In this final week before Christmas, there is a part we can all play to ensure no one is left feeling lonely this Christmas and build closer, more compassionate communities.
celebrating 100 years of women standing for election
9th November 2018
On 21st November, 50:50 Parliament, Jo Cox Foundation, Fawcett Society, and Centenary Action Group are organising an awesome #AskHerToStand Day.
The 21st November celebrates 100 years of the Qualification of Women Act which allowed the first women to stand for Parliament. Since then, only 491 women have gained seats at Westminster, compared to 4503 men. In the 2017, 12 extra women were elected to Parliament, at this rate it will take another half century to achieve the gender balanced Parliament that all the political parties agree we should be working towards!
We need more women to stand for public office – from the grassroots to Westminster. So on 21st November every MP has been asked to invite a woman from their constituency to Parliament for the day. The day will include inspirational events for delegates to attend, in addition to spending time with their MP and team.
Travel Expenses of over £20 and up to £80 are available for those women who would not otherwise be able to participate.
The Jo Cox Foundation welcomes the government’s first-ever loneliness strategy
MONDAY 15th OCTOBER 2018
“For every life that is made less lonely as a result of the work Jo started, we will take great comfort"
Together with our partners who have continued the work on loneliness started by Jo, we welcome the government’s first ever loneliness strategy – echoing Jo’s strong belief that loneliness is one of the most pressing public health challenges facing the country. As she herself said: “Young or old – loneliness does not discriminate.”
It is a tribute to Jo’s work and that of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, together with our brilliant colleagues in the Loneliness Action Group, that we can today celebrate the implementation of many of the recommendations put forward in the Jo Cox Commission’s report published in late 2017.
This is the positive vision that Jo imagined: a coalition of local authorities, businesses, and charities, all coming together to help build a more connected, compassionate society for all.
Jo’s sister Kim Leadbeater said: "The work on loneliness has been a hugely important part of Jo's legacy and it is heartwarming to see how much progress has been made on the subject since her murder. It is excellent to see that loneliness is now firmly on the Government's agenda, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in getting us to this point. For every life that is made less lonely as a result of the work Jo started and that we have all continued, we will take great comfort."
Kim and the Foundation believe that the important thing now is to turn dialogue and strategy into action. We are really pleased to see a focus on GPs’ surgeries pointing people in the direction of activities and support to alleviate loneliness. We also welcome the announcement of funding to go towards more community spaces that will improve people’s quality of life. The Employer Pledge will help raise awareness around loneliness in the workplace, too, and we firmly believe that this is the beginning of a major national conversation that will help to tackle the stigma of loneliness, and to understand how important social connections are to making our communities stronger and more compassionate.
Jo Cox Square Named in Brussels
27th September 2018
On Thursday, 27th September Jo’s sister and parents attended the official inauguration of Jo Cox Square in the centre of Brussels. The city decided to rename the square in honour of Jo Cox as part of its efforts to have more of its streets and public places named after women.
Jo lived and worked in the Belgian capital prior to becoming an MP. The square is close to the Ancienne Belgique music venue which she often attended.
The inauguration was led by the Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, alongside Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, and her parents, Gordon and Jean. Representatives of the British Labour Party and the European Parliament also attended.
Kim Leadbeater said:
“My parents and I are very pleased to be attending the inauguration of Jo Cox Square and are honoured that the city of Brussels has chosen to remember Jo in this way. She had many happy times living there and made some deep and long lasting friendships. We visited her on several occasions and have many heart-warming memories of seeing how much she enjoyed being there. To know that she will have a permanent place where she, and the values she stood by, can be remembered is a comfort and an honour and I would like to thank everyone involved.”
Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close, said: “Naming a square in Brussels after Jo Cox is an honour for the City. Her investment in women’s rights, in European construction and her love for Brussels was absolutely remarkable.”
After the inauguration a choir led by one of Jo’s close friends from her time in Brussels, Suzy Sumner performed. The repertoire included the Balkan folksong Ederlezi and Nkosi Sikelel’ I Afrika. Suzy said:
“Ederlezi is a traditional folksong from the Romani minority in the Balkans. Jo loved the region and the song so much that she decided to name the boat where she lived with her family in London 'Ederlezi'.
Nkosi Sikelel' I Afrika is best known as a pan-african liberation song and versions of it are part of national anthems in many African countries including South Africa. We sing it to remember Jo's work in Africa both with Glenys Kinnock and Oxfam and her spirit to continue to stand for justice.”
Kim Leadbeater awarded the UK’s 1000th point of light Recognition
14th September 2017
Kim Leadbeater - Jo’s sister and the Foundation’s Ambassador - has been recognised as the UK’s 1000th ‘Point of Light’ by the Prime Minister.
Every week day the Prime Minister recognises an outstanding volunteer making a change in their community with the Daily Point of Light award. From setting up the More in Common Batley and Spen group to pioneering the Great Get Together, Kim has created platforms that have brought millions of people together in their communities, forging new friendships and giving new meaning to Jo’s belief that we truly have more in common.
In a personal letter to Kim, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“I am humbled by the depth of your courage and by the strength of your belief in the best of humanity which has led you to honour Jo’s legacy in such an inspiring way. Through the Jo Cox Foundation you have led inspiring work on so many of the issues that Jo cared about – from driving a national effort to tackle loneliness to creating the Jo Cox Memorial Grants which work internationally to support the empowerment of women and prevent identity-based violence.
“Your work is the most fitting tribute to the memory of your sister and all that she stood for and believed in. Like Jo, you truly are a Point of Light in our world – and this award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service.”
“It is an honour and a privilege to receive this award. Very unusually for me I’m almost lost for words.
“Quite simply, when Jo was murdered my entire life changed forever, and I am still a long way from coming to terms with what has happened. However, the support I have received from so many people, including the huge number of hardworking volunteers across the country who have supported The Great Get Together campaign, has kept me focused. As a result, I remain resolute in continuing the work we have all started to bring people together and build strong communities where everyone has a sense of identity and belonging.
So, this recognition is for all those amazing people too – they are the many, many ‘points of light’ up and down the country, who will continue to shine in Jo’s memory and prove that we do indeed have ‘more in common than that which divides us.’”
The Great Get Together 2018 & 2019
11th September 2018
The second Great Get Together was held in June 2018 on what would have been Jo’s 44th birthday. Through 4,500 events across the country, the Great Get Together proved the lasting value of Jo’s example and her belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.
Following this years' Great Get Together, 70% of people are planning more community events in the future and 83% said they met someone new at this year's Great Get Together. That's 25,000 new relationships!
Read more about the impact of the Great Get Together 2018 here.
The date for the Great Get Together 2019 is 21st-23rd June. Please save it in your diaries and stay tuned for updates on how you can be involved!
2016-2018: What we have achieved
11th September 2018
It has been an amazing couple of years for the issues Jo cared most about. From the appointment of the world’s first Loneliness Minister, to the £10 million Jo Cox Memorial Grants and millions of people coming together for The Great Get Together, Jo would be proud of all that her inspiration and example has achieved since her tragic murder.
You can read more about the progress made over the past 2 years in our report ‘2 Years On: The Jo Cox Foundation 2016-2018'
new CEO FOR the Jo Cox Foundation
19th July 2018
The Jo Cox Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Catherine Anderson as its new Chief Executive. Catherine will start work in September when the current Director, Iona Lawrence, will leave after two years in the post.
The Foundation was set up in 2016 following the murder of Jo Cox MP in her constituency of Batley and Spen. Catherine Anderson will be taking up the post of Chief Executive Officer after eight years working in parliament as Chief of Staff to Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and The Border.
Announcing the appointment, Nick Grono, chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, said:
“The board of trustees is delighted that Catherine will be heading up the Foundation’s work from September and taking forward our ambitious agenda. She brings deep experience of issues very close to Jo’s heart – from work with vulnerable communities to campaigning to get more women into parliament.
“The JCF has achieved an enormous amount under Iona’s inspiring leadership, including two successful annual Great Get Togethers, a highly positive response to the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission with the appointment of the world’s first loneliness minister, and the announcement by DfID of a £10million aid fund to empower women and strengthen communities in developing countries.
“We are all looking forward to working with Catherine to build on these achievements and make further progress based on the values Jo Cox lived by and the issues she was so passionate about.”
Catherine Anderson said:
"It is a huge honour to have been appointed to lead the Jo Cox Foundation in this next chapter of its life. Iona has set the bar high with her amazing leadership over the past two years, and I am extremely grateful to have been given the chance to build on her brilliant work.
“As a woman in public life myself - with a background in charitable and NGO work both in the UK and abroad, and almost a decade working in domestic politics - Jo's life and achievements resonate with me deeply. To be able to drive Jo's message and values deeper and wider, and to ensure her positive legacy thrives in the years to come, is something that I will devote myself to with energy and enthusiasm.”
Iona Lawrence said:
“It has been an enormous privilege to work with such an extraordinary team of people over the past two years. With a small and incredibly dedicated team at the centre, and an extraordinary network of volunteers and supporters around the country, we’ve been on a journey that none of us will ever forget.
“Nothing will ever make up for the loss of Jo or undo the devastating act of hate that took her from those who loved her so much, but the hard work and determination of so many supporting the Foundation’s work to drive forward her vision for a kinder, fairer and more tolerant world has been humbling to lead. I know I speak for Jo’s sister, Kim, her parents Gordon and Jean, in wishing my successor all the very best and hoping she finds the role every bit as fulfilling as I have.”