Our work across Yorkshire is central to our vision for a kinder, more compassionate society where everyone has a sense of belonging.
Jo Cox, proud Yorkshire lass
Jo Cox was passionate about local communities and bringing people together. As a humanitarian and a politician, Jo Cox’s career took her around the world, yet her sense of belonging and her identity were always firmly rooted in Yorkshire. In 2015, Jo Cox was elected as MP for Batley and Spen, allowing her to represent her home region in the UK Parliament. The Foundation’s presence is a vital part of our work to build a legacy for Jo that reflects the things she really cared about, locally as well as nationally.
“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
Belonging in Batley and Spen
In 2022 we piloted a new project that placed local people at its heart and encouraged participants to explore what it means to belong. Through the Belonging in Batley and Spen project, we brought together people from different backgrounds who shared their experiences and insights on this topic.
After eight weeks, they delivered a Great Get Together event for their local community, entirely of their own design. The annual Great Get Together continues to resonate in West Yorkshire, where our local communities run events every year on the weekend closest to Jo Cox's birthday.
To discover the impact of this project and what we learnt, read the Belonging in Batley and Spen Impact Report.
Inspired by the More in Common Awards we have held in previous years in partnership with Kirklees Council, this Volunteering Spotlight highlights groups contributing positively throughout Kirklees. These groups embody the More in Common spirit and work to bring people together. From combating social isolation to providing welcoming spaces, we talked to 6 volunteer groups about how they work with their communities.
Batley Poets PeerTalk Give...A Few Words
6 Million+ Streetbikes CIC RVS
Our scope in Yorkshire
Our work in Yorkshire is currently divided into three geographical areas:
Batley and Spen
We work to foster belonging through community-led cohesion projects. We create space for people from different backgrounds to connect and understand one another.
We build partnerships between organisations from all sectors who are committed to fostering social connectedness. This means building coalitions, collaborating on research and advocating for the conditions that will bridge divides and reduce loneliness across the area.
Throughout West Yorkshire, we enable participation in the Foundation’s two flagship community initiatives, The Great Get Together and the More in Common Network.
Our guiding principles make sure everything we do in Yorkshire is true to Jo and the way that she lived..
We act as enablers and facilitators
We will make sure our own work supports and enhances the wonderful community initiatives already taking place across the region, and genuinely enables local people to take action.
We’re always in dialogue with the community
Jo was well-known across her diverse constituency, with a broad network of supporters and ‘critical friends.’ We want our approach to match this so that, by always being in dialogue with the community, our projects reflect its evolving needs.
We maximise impact by bringing local and national together
We will make the most of our local and national platforms to make sure northern voices are heard on the issues we’re campaigning for, and that, when it comes to belonging, the experiences of people in Batley and Spen are fully understood where it counts.
We strategise for the long-term
Building cohesion and overcoming loneliness are ambitious goals that require long-term effort. In many areas of her work, Jo demonstrated her long-sightedness and head for strategy. We’re taking inspiration from Jo to work strategically towards an ambitious vision.
We’re courageous in taking the first step
There’s plenty of room for new ideas and brave new ways of working to tackle some of the barriers to belonging that we know exist in our communities. We’re keeping a sense of excitement and an open mind about what might be possible if we dare to be the first to try a new approach.
We’re always open to new ideas for partnerships and feedback on our projects and plans. Please get in touch
Hafeezah Soni, Yorkshire Programme Manager