Below are answers to a lot of commonly asked questions. But, if you have a question that isn’t answered here, please do email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be delighted to be in touch.
/together is a coalition that anyone can join, from community groups, to some of the UK’s best-known organisations. It invites us all to help build a kinder, closer and more connected society, at a local and national level, in the aftermath of COVID-19. We hope that /together will be the biggest campaign for social connection that the UK has ever seen.
The initiative has evolved from dozens of separate conversations across the country from across civil society, faith, media, sport and culture into a campaign to heal social divides. A Steering Group will oversee its direction and evolution, which is chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury and includes a broad range of organisations and individuals from the NHS and ITV to the Scouts, Guides, the British Paralympic Association, trade unions and the CBI. A full list of members can be found here.
This initiative began in the summer of 2019, with the coming together of dozens of separate conversations across different sectors of society. Through these initial months, the group began to build a campaign to help heal social divides, which became /together. /together was trailed in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message and an open letter from key individuals from across our society. Our initial plan was to launch in March 2020, but of course, this changed when Covid-19 hit. Our first public activity was Thank you/together, working with the NHS to bring people together to mark its birthday on Sunday 5th July. You can find out more about Thank you/together here.
The initiative has, as with so much in our society, been affected by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown. We know that many of the divisions we were already aware of have been further exposed - and sometimes exacerbated - by the crisis. However, it has also shown people at their best – volunteering, helping neighbours, protecting those at greatest risk, pulling together as communities to support one another. The question now is how can we best harness and build on this renewed sense of community spirit so it doesn’t dissipate when the crisis is over?
The /together campaign seeks to work over the coming decade. Its initial focus through 2020 is listening, but from 2021 onwards, we will be activating through a wide range of activities - and encouraging our partners to do the same. /Together, we want to make the 2020s a decade of reconnection.
/together wants people across the UK to reconnect with each other and to rebuild a greater sense of community and togetherness. We hope to do this through four key strands of work:
- Building a new narrative of connection, starting with talk/together, a conversation across the UK about what unites us, what divides us and what we share. You can take part in the 5-minute survey here- https://together.org.uk/survey/
- Increasing participation in activities that bring us together such as volunteering and national events, especially across divides
- Bringing together a broad coalition of organisations to advocate for the policy change and practical action that is needed to build a more united and connected society
- Building and strengthening a wider movement of organisations committed to bridging divides and connecting communities
/together is open to everyone who believes we have more in common than that which divides us. It is already made up of dozens of organisations, from community groups, clubs and societies of all sizes, to UK’s best known and most trusted organisations and businesses. We are not political and welcome partners of all faiths and none. You can find a full list of those who have already signed up to be partners on the website here. If your organisation would like to get involved, please sign up to become a partner or contact email@example.com and one of our team will be delighted to pick up a conversation with you.
As the campaign begins, we’d love to invite you to feed in your experiences into the Talk/together consultation to shape future outputs - and engage supporters, customers or those in your networks to take part too. From 2021, we will use these findings to work with partner organisations to explore what they can do. This might involve amplifying existing initiatives or creating new ones where there are gaps. If you’d like to find out more about /together and how you can be involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We want everyone to be a key part of /together. Indeed, to succeed, this campaign needs to involve people and communities from every corner of the UK. As a first step, we would love you to feed in your experiences into the Talk/together survey to shape future outputs - and encourage friends and family to take part too. You can also sign up here to stay updated, where you can find out more about our upcoming activities and how you can be involved.
The Together Initiative is governed by a Board of Trustees, who are responsible for the overall governance, operation and administration of the campaign. This includes setting our strategic direction, making sure we’re using our resources effectively, scrutinising our performance and supporting and empowering our Director and staff team. As the coalition grows we plan to expand our board of trustees better to reflect the backgrounds of those who are supporting us. Our trustees are accountable to regulators on behalf of the public to ensure we’re having the greatest possible impact on society. Further information about The Together Initiative and who is on our board of Trustees can be found through Companies House here.
Many of the activities of /together are conducted by partner organisations who have used their own funds. As we go forward this is how we plan to operate as a coalition. However, /together has also received a number of grants from individuals, organisations and charitable funds to provide a small amount of central capacity, for example, Unbound Philanthropy. We would like to express our particular thanks to the Aviva Foundation for their generosity. This central capacity generated is overseen by the Board of Trustees.
There are already a number of excellent organisations working on social connection. Indeed, a number of them, including British Future and the Jo Cox Foundation, are represented on our Steering Group. We have therefore built a strong group of such experts within the coalition, who will focus on policy, advocacy and legacy, calling on the Government and other institutions to prioritise social connection. But this is about inviting businesses and organisations from across different sectors of our society - from the arts to sport, media to culture - to also consider how they can play their part.
The project itself is independent of party politics and will remain neutral on issues such as Scottish independence and Brexit. Those who are involved in /together span political divides and come from a wide range of backgrounds. From the beginning, there was a shared belief that whilst we might disagree on the substance of political debates, we need to find ways to have kinder and more respectful conversations with those who have different opinions to our own.
No, /together is not a religious initiative; it is open to those of all faiths and none. Indeed, our Steering Group includes representatives from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, as do our partner organisations. Archbishop Justin Welby was asked by the original participants of the coalition if he would chair the Steering Group for the campaign in a personal capacity, which he was delighted to agree to. As a key figure in our national life, he has the ability to convene this remarkable group of people and has an esteemed background in reconciliation.
Research by British Future for /together finds that the unity fostered under lockdown is starting to fray, with old divisions - by politics, age, wealth and geography - are starting to re-emerge. ICM research for /together in June found that nearly half the public (45%) feels that “The UK has never felt so divided in my lifetime.” That's 15 percentage points lower than in March - but it still shows that many of us agree our society is more divided than we would like.
We know that Covid-19 is causing unimaginable hardship and suffering - and it has come at a time when we were already struggling with rising loneliness, profound inequality and divisive political debates. But we also know that positive social contact between people of different social backgrounds or political views has been shown to create more connected, peaceful and resilient communities. We need this more than ever to help us face the challenges to come.
/together is a UK-wide initiative. Our Steering Group includes representatives from all four nations and our Talk/together consultation will hear views from every corner of the UK, to ensure we get a truly representative picture of division and unity, as we work with national and local partners to consider how the campaign might take shape in different regions moving forward.
The coalition includes a wide range of organisations - many of whom disagree with each other on certain issues, and whom you might also disagree with. However, /together is open to everyone who believes we have more in common than that which divides us, and who is committed to doing what they can to build a kinder, closer and more connected society. Indeed, learning to disagree better is a key element of what /together is seeking to achieve. Nevertheless, we continually monitor who has signed up to become a partner and will take appropriate action to remove partners if it is deemed necessary by our Board.
At /together, we are committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion in all we do. Our Steering Group has a diverse membership, representing a wide range of ages, genders, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds, who continue to provide guidance on how the campaign can best engage with different demographics. We will continue to monitor the makeup of this group, and all our activities, to ensure it is truly diverse and inclusive.
/together is unusual in that it is a campaign that starts with questions, rather than providing a set of answers upfront at the start. We are now undertaking talk/together, a UK-wide conversation about what divides us, what unites us and what will bring us closer /together. We are carrying out one of the biggest-ever public surveys on this subject and working in every nation and region of the country to host conversations with members of the public and those with a specific interest in social connection and bridging social divides. Please share your views in our open online survey at www.together.org.uk/survey/
- An open online survey, hosted on /together’s website, and which anyone can complete.
- A nationally representative survey later in 2020.
- Citizens’ discussions’: a series of conversations with members of the public in 25 locations across the regions and nations of the UK.
- Stakeholder discussions, which will enable us to hear the views of councils, faith and civil society organisations, business, sport and others who have an interest in social connection.
- An open call for evidence, for people who want to give us their views or share the work they are doing with a wider audience.
- Partnerships with local organisations, who will undertake their own Talk/together activities.
Our plans are for the Steering Group to begin to consider initial findings in autumn 2020. We then hope to publish a final report early in 2021, sharing our findings and launching the next phase of /together’s work. This will shape the next stages of the campaign moving forward, from what participatory events people want to see more of, to policy changes we need to see to achieve /together’s aims.
Yes! We want to build a campaign based on what you think about what divides us, what unites us and what will bring us closer /together. So, it is important that we hear as many voices as possible to make this one of the most authoritative pieces of research on social connection yet.
We want to make sure that Talk/together listens to those voices that often go unheard. We are partnering with different organisations across the country to help reach some of the most marginalised groups - including people who can't access the internet, homeless people and those on low or no income who rely on foodbanks, as well as refugees and asylum-seekers. We are keen to hear from other organisations, particularly at grassroots level, who can help us to hear from marginalised groups. In addition we will conduct nationally-representative research to ensure our findings reflect the feelings of people across Britain as a whole.
The Together Initiative is committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of those who connect with /together. You can find our privacy statement here, which explains when, why and what personal information we collect about people who visit our website, complete our surveys or sign up to hear more from us. It explains how we use your data, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure. We may change this policy from time to time so please check this page for updates. If you have any questions regarding this Policy and our privacy practices, please be in touch via email with email@example.com
Ensuring the safety of participants, volunteers and staff is a key concern. We are monitoring the guidance issued closely and hope to be able to host events in future. The Talk/together team are considering a variety of formats at this time, including virtual options.
First, please complete the Talk/together survey to share your views on what unites and divides us and what could bring people closer together. We will shortly be issuing a call for evidence, where we want to hear more from you about what unites us, what divides us and what can help bring us closer together. More details will be provided then about how you can get involved. In the meantime, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story you would like to share.
We are already working with many of our partners to support them in holding their own events to feed in the voices of their networks to Talk/together. If you are interested in holding your own Talk/together event, please do be in touch with email@example.com and we would be delighted to pick up a conversation with you on how you can best do this. We will soon be providing further guidance on our website about this.
The Talk/together survey is now live and will be available for submissions until the beginning of December - so make sure you have filled it in and encouraged family and friends to do the same before then!