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.
The Workington Man – first coined by Onward – featured in an article in The Times last week discussing the Government’s current electoral challenges.
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.
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.
Director of Onward
Upcoming event: A Remote Chance?
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.
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.
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.