Our work across Yorkshire is central to our vision for a kinder, more compassionate society where everyone has a sense of belonging.
“I am Batley and Spen born and bred, and I could not be prouder of that. I am proud that I was made in Yorkshire and I am proud of the things we make in Yorkshire. Britain should be proud of that, too."- Jo Cox, Maiden Speech 2015
Community Makes Us
The Community Makes Us project was a response to the emerging needs brought about by Covid-19 for people living in Batley and Spen, where experiences of loneliness and social isolation were exacerbated by the challenges of lockdowns. The project aimed to improve wellbeing for participants through regular contact with group peers, sharing their experiences, feeling heard and developing new relationships.
It also set out to counteract division and divisiveness, a defining feature of the Yorkshire focused work of The Jo Cox Foundation. The inequalities highlighted by the pandemic have fuelled further division within already vulnerable communities. By recruiting participants from across all sections of the community, the project aimed to promote unity, empathy and cohesion.
Mental Health Awareness
In partnership with other local anchor organisations, we were commissioned by Kirklees Council to provide mental health awareness training to community groups and individuals across the area of Kirklees. Our team focused on the Spen Valley region. The project aimed to bring together a network to focus on increasing confidence to support around mental health and identify ways that further support to organisations and volunteers could be offered.
During the covid-19 pandemic, we worked with other key voluntary sector ‘anchor’ organisations, alongside the local authority and mutual aid groups to coordinate the community response, providing food, prescriptions and befriending to those in need. It became clear that there were many people that were unable to get their basic needs met, and that digital exclusion and digital poverty were key reasons for this. We did a piece of research with local community organisations and discovered many people were unable to access their services, along with other vital services including healthcare and education.
The anchor organisations joined with local community healthcare provider Locala to develop and deliver a pilot project that supplied 100 tablet computers across North Kirklees, with the intention of upskilling community members, improving access to digital services and reducing loneliness.
With the support of Birstall-based sponsors PPG, we were able to offer assistance to 6 local food poverty projects. The emphasis was on sustainability, i.e. practical support for the ongoing work of these projects. Funds were used for items such as office equipment, white goods and other items that helped the projects to manage the daily demand.