Victoria Verbi, Head of Campaigns
We firmly believe that addressing social disconnection is one of the most pressing challenges facing our society today. No one organisation will tackle it alone, we must build a movement.
The past four years have taken us through deep political and social changes in our society. In light of this, we have become acutely aware of our need to connect with other people for our wellbeing. This makes sense, as we are, of course, social creatures, yet, we find ourselves in a profound crisis of social connection between individuals and groups in our society. The challenges we face are complex, they are multi-layered and interconnected across every sector, every social group, gender, race and class.
In 2020 /together undertook the UK’s largest ever public conversation on what divides and what unites us. ‘Talk/together’ took the views of over 160,000 people from communities across the UK to understand the current divides, risks of future divides and how we might be able to address them, together. The data was stark, it emphasised the realities across our communities of the epidemic of loneliness, the political polarisation, the growing gaps between the groups in our society, and the reduced social solidarity. However it also showed the strong appetite for change, that the divisions of the past could come back and deepen, or we could, as a society now coming together.
Whilst social disconnection has permeated through every level of our society, at each level there are countless individuals, community groups, and UK wide institutions working tirelessly to address this social disconnection. The work is happening, it’s vital and transformative.
However, over the past 4 years of /together, we have found that organisations addressing social cohesion often find themselves only able to reach and speak to other organisations like them – within the echo chambers of their sectors. This is most often due to a reticence to look beyond organisations that closely align with their values.
If we are going to solve this complex multi-layered issue, then, as organisations we must start collaborating with opinions and voices different to ours. Rather than having segregated siloed activity, what would it look like if we had a joint approach to addressing our social disconnection?
Just imagine for a moment, what would it look like if we could collaborate across sectors, sharing the messaging and getting other groups mobilised to take action? The impact that we could have by working together, giving oxygen and momentum to vital messaging. We don’t have to be fully aligned or even agree on the same priorities or ways of working, but we can be united on the objective that uniting our communities particularly across divides is going to be transformational to our social, political and economic future.
Togetherness then becomes the enabler of solutions to problems we face.
The /together coalition sets out to bring together organisations across every sector and level of society, with the belief that together we can build kinder, closer more connected communities. Over the past 4 years, the coalition has grown to become one of the most diverse and powerful coalitions ever assembled in the UK.
We’ve seen incredible cross sector uptake of our social connection campaigns, policy and narrative work, and movement building.
Corporates have adopted our campaign messaging as a formal part of the CSR strategy, activating their employees to volunteer in their local communities. Supermarkets have pushed out the /together campaigns across all their stores, opening up their doors to local community charities. Music sector have connected with Sport sector, Faith groups have jumped into volunteering, and Food Groups have adopted environmental campaigns.
We have an opportunity to solve this social disconnection crisis, but our differences mean that we’re stronger together.
The coalition is open to everyone to join – we’d love to add your voice and expertise to the movement.
Connect with different sectors, varied organisations, and join the movement.