Encore.org Senior Fellow Julia Randell-Khan shares news of UK organizations collaborating to foster social connections.

Veteran 99-year-old Captain Tom’s Moore’s recent walk to raise money for National Health Service charities in the UK has raised an astounding £27million – a powerful story of people supporting their neighbours and communities in creative ways during Covid 19. The story has also inspired young children to draw birthday cards to celebrate Tom’s 100th birthday at the end of April – a natural cross-generational impact.

The drive for community connectedness is not new for many people, but the response to Covid 19 is prompting more people than ever to create reciprocal relationships to build solidarity, belonging and the belief that we have more in common than that which divides us.

A new open source, cross-sector movement, the Connection Coalition — which includes Encore Network member and UK innovation charity Nesta, the Jo Cox FoundationMindAge UK, the British Red Cross and Facebook — aims to help people maintain social connections despite physical isolation. This will help both to protect the health and well-being of those most at risk and crucially build strong community relationships that will endure beyond the immediate crisis. Its mission: working together to build strong relationships and communities, both now and in the future. 

The Cares Family, led by Encore Public Voices Fellow Alex Smith, is also a founding member of the Coalition. It expects to grow into a network of organisations, charities, companies and groups to lift up the stories of connection.  

We are going to be living in a different kind of country after the crisis is over. We can build a better future for everyone by building strong relationships and connected communities now.”

The immediate work of the Coalition is to bring organisations together to collaborate and share expertise, creativity, tools and ideas for ways to build connection during a time of physical distancing. Through storytelling and sharing a message of hope, the aim is to inspire people to build and maintain strong reciprocal social relationships now and in the future.  

Learn more about the Connection Coalition and how to become a member here. Join Encore.org in becoming a member of the Coalition and sharing stories of connection.

Published: April 21, 2020