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Summit Social Post 1 - Restitch: The Social Fabric Summit

Onward and Create Streets are delighted that you are joining us for Restitch: The Social Fabric Summit. Over the week, we will bring together the most interesting thinkers and most inspiring practitioners to celebrate community, discuss the challenges facing our societies, and share practical steps to revive left-behind places and restore our fraying social fabric after the pandemic.

We are thrilled to announce further details of the summit, and what it will involve.


The summit will centre around four core themes fundamental to restitching the social fabric after the pandemic: place; work; community and identity.

  • On Tuesday 24th May in London, we will focus on place and work, with panels discussing topics such as how we can take the politics out of placemaking, what conditions are necessary for communities to become prosperous and thriving places, and exploring whether social mobility has stalled.
  • On Friday 27th May in Halifax, we will focus on community and identity. Questions explored will range from how we can build community capitalism in the 21st century to how we can create the culture and conditions for bottom up change within communities, as well as a fireside chat with leading mayors.

At a time of rising interest in the role of social institutions and networks in supporting local democracy and prosperity, it is important that we mobilise the people and organisations who can make this happen. Our summit will give this agenda the political and policy definition it needs to generate traction in the cultural mainstream.

Introducing 6 key speakers

We are excited to officially announce the first speakers for Restitch:

  • Rt Hon Rory Stewart OBE – Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute, Yale University 
  • Michael Sandel – Professor of Government Theory at Harvard University Law School 
  • Katharine Birbalsingh CBE – Chair of the Social Mobility Commission
  • Rt Hon Lisa Nandy MP – Shadow Secretary of State, Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 
  • Andy Haldane – CEO, Royal Society for Arts and former chief economist at the Bank of England 
  • Helen Thompson – Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University
Twitter speaker graphic 2 - Restitch: The Social Fabric Summit


The locations have been carefully chosen to be convenient for different audiences, memorable for participants and symbolic of our wider purpose.

Church House, Westminster

The first day of Restitch will be held in Church House, Westminster, the remarkably little known headquarters of the Church of England. 

The current building, the second on the site, was designed by the classical architect, Sir Herbert Baker and was opened by the king in June 1940 only a few days after the successful completion of the Dunkirk evacuation. Although bombed in The Blitz it suffered much less damage than the nearby Houses of Parliament, and the House of Lords sat in the Assembly Hall, where we will be meeting, for the remainder of the war. In 1946, the first meetings of both the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council were held in the Hoare Memorial Hall, where we will also be holding discussions on 24th May.

The Piece Hall, Halifax

The Piece Hall is Yorkshire’s most important secular building and should be one of England’s most famous places. Opening in 1779, it is the only survivor of the great eighteenth century northern cloth halls in which producers, traders and middlemen bartered over the most historically long-lasting of Britain’s exports – woollen cloth. It is hard to overstate the scale of this building or its importance to all our histories.

Nicholas Boys Smith, Founding Director of Create Streets, reflects on the first time he entered The Piece Hall:

“I will never forget the first time I saw The Piece Hall. I was lucky enough to be visiting Halifax as an Historic England Commissioner. I knew it was something special. I’d read about it. I’d seen the pictures. And yet, emerging through that dark small door into what must be one of the most gloriously luminous urban enclosures in Europe still took my breath away. That a building, created purely for commercial purposes 240 years ago should be so beautiful tells us something about the commercial culture of our past. That a building that merits national fame is so little-known tells us much about the cultural geography of our own present. If any one place symbolises our need to “level-up” it is surely The Piece Hall.”

Our sessions will be held within The Piece Hall itself, and in Square Chapel Arts Centre, located just next door. To read more about the heritage of The Piece Hall, please click here.


We are thrilled to announce that the headline sponsors of Restitch will be Lloyds Banking Group, Berkeley Group, Local Trust and Legal & General. Their support helps to enable new connections that will repair our social fabric.

Sponsors v3 - Restitch: The Social Fabric Summit

Thank you for signing up to receive updates, and we hope you can join us, either online or in-person, in late May 2022.