In the media:

Last week Onward and Create Streets hosted our Restitch Social Fabric Summit across two days in London and Halifax.

  • The Summit was covered in Politico here, here and here.
  • The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid made a keynote speech on the first day of the Summit. This was covered in the health press and you can read his full speech here.
  • Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up’s Lisa Nandy was interviewed by the Northern Agenda ahead of giving a keynote speech on the final day of the Summit. You can listen to a podcast of her interview here.
  • UnHerd covered comments comparing the US Democrats and UK Labour by Oren Cass, former advisor to Mitt Romney, at the Summit.

Onward’s Head of Energy and Climate Ed Birkett appeared on Nigel Farage’s GB News show discussing the energy price cap.


The Workington Man – first coined by Onward – featured in an article in The Times last week discussing the Government’s current electoral challenges.

Onward Note

Last week, Onward and Create Streets brought together some of the brightest and best thinkers, politicians, community leaders and social entrepreneurs at Restitch: a major international summit on how to repair the fabric of communities after the pandemic. It was a truly fantastic few days.

Will Tanner

Held in the magnificent surroundings of Halifax’s Piece Hall and London’s Church House, we gathered over 500 people in person and countless others online for discussions on disagreeing well with Rory Stewart; against meritocracy with Michael Sandel; the role of community in the NHS with Sajid Javid; and levelling up forgotten towns with Lisa Nandy – and much more.

I left with a sense of hope and – appropriately enough – belonging. It is clear that there is something of an arms race emerging between the main parties on this issue – where both left and right understand the loss of social capital in recent decades and increasingly want to do something about it. But even more inspiring than that were the stories throughout the summit from people already restitching their social fabric – using community land trusts, children’s zones, community businesses and makerspaces. We need many more of them – and to support them.

In that spirit, I have launched a new podcast – Building Belonging – in partnership with Alex Smith at The Cares Family. Together we are speaking to civic innovators about their efforts to bring us together in an age of disconnection. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

These discussions could not have been more timely. Later this week millions of people across the country will come together with their friends, family and neighbours to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and the enduring ties that bind our communities and our country together.

As I look back on the Social Fabric Summit and ahead to these Jubilee celebrations, I am more confident than ever that people do want to forge meaningful connections with those around us, and that we can find the will to work together and heal the political and social divides that have opened up in recent years.

You can watch all of the sessions from Resitch: The Social Fabric Summit online.

Will Tanner

Director of Onward

Upcoming event: A Remote Chance?
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Linked Image

On June 6th, join us for an event with Zoom on the future of work and the long-term economic and social impact of hybrid working in a post-pandemic world. Speaking at this event are Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business Paul Scully MP, Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central Jo Gideon MP, Bloomberg’s UK Economy Reporter Lizzy Burden and Zoom’s Director of Government Relations for the UK & Ireland, Charlotte Holloway.

You can sign up for the event here.

New Podcast!
Buidiling Belonging website 1 - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22

Last week we launched Building Belonging: A new podcast brought to you by Onward and The Cares Family about civic innovators and the stories behind the institutions they’re building to bring us together in an age of disconnection.

Join Alex Smith and Will Tanner for deep conversations with the people who are restitching our social fabric, including Jon Yates, Sophia Parker, Ivo Gormley, Kim Leadbeater MP and more. Subscribe here.

Policy Bites

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have published the prospectus for the second round of its £150 million Community Ownership Fund, promising that more community groups will be able to rescue prized local assets such as sports clubs, music venues and historic buildings. Link.

The Department for Education has announced a new scheme under which the Open University will work with local colleges to offer more high-quality higher and technical education in people’s hometowns. Link.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have announced £15 million worth of funding to create new garden communities. By 2025 the Garden Communities programme will deliver up to 16,000 homes per year across 43 towns and villages. Link.

Quick Links

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Why is nothing working in broken Britain?
Infrastructure is creaking. Customer service is shoddy. Life is dominated by delays, tedium and frustration. Is this just a blip after Brexit and Covid, or are we stuck in a rut?
%2Fmethode%2Fsundaytimes%2Fprod%2Fweb%2Fbin%2F976743f4 e969 11ec 91b1 7bfb0a33d3d9 - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22
Why is nothing working in broken Britain?
Infrastructure is creaking. Customer service is shoddy. Life is dominated by delays, tedium and frustration. Is this just a blip after Brexit and Covid, or are we stuck in a rut?
20220611 BRD001 - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22
Britain’s productivity problem is long-standing and getting worse
Many culprits and few easy answers
20220611 BRD001 - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22
Britain’s productivity problem is long-standing and getting worse
Many culprits and few easy answers
dual masthead placeholder 16x9 6a9822c61a - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22
The Times & The Sunday Times
Ministers are drawing up plans to sever the link between the prices of gas and electricity in an effort to cut household bills for millions of families.
dual masthead placeholder 16x9 6a9822c61a - Onward Newsletter, 31/05/22
The Times & The Sunday Times
Ministers are drawing up plans to sever the link between the prices of gas and electricity in an effort to cut household bills for millions of families.