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Our Chance to Reconnect

Monday 26th July 2021

Over the past year we have witnessed an incredible upsurge in neighbourliness and community spirit. Yet divisions persist in our society, which have the potential to create deeper divisions and threaten the cohesion of our communities.

 

A society at a crossroads 

The legacy of Covid-19 could be growing isolation and distance from each other, or it could be a newfound commitment to help each other and to look out for those around us. The divisions of the past could re-emerge or become deeper, or they could also be challenged and bridged by an appreciation of what people have in common. Taking the right path will require leadership – from national and local government, business leaders and key institutions – but it is also up to every one of us as individuals.

The Together coalition brings together organisations wishing to guide us on the right path. We are organisations from all sectors, and of all sizes – from major national institutions like the NHS and ITV, to youth organisations like The Boys’ Brigade, with a shared belief in creating kinder, closer and more connected communities.

We want to see a country where communities are underpinned by connecting ideas and events that help us tackle loneliness and prejudice, where we have a clearer sense of who we are and what brings us together, and where we may still disagree with each other but in a context of understanding and respect.

 

The role of The Boys’ Brigade

BB groups already do so much to support their communities, and you have adapted your activities in the last year to meet the needs and stay connected with those around you.

In our recent report Talk/Together, the role and the value of youth organisations such as the BB was highlighted and many suggested there should be an expectation that involvement in a youth organisation is a staple element of every young person’s upbringing.

The Boys’ Brigade is all about supporting children and young people’s personal development and enabling them to make a positive contribution to society, while strengthening values such as cooperation, integrity, respect and care for others. These are foundational elements to creating a society that recognises we have much in common.

 

What you can do – creating kinder, closer, more connected communities

Recognition of the role and the value of youth organisations is not to say there isn’t still more we can do to promote kinder, closer, more connected communities.

BB groups have a unique role to play in bringing children and young people together across other social divides, whether it be through membership and leadership of the group, or through the social action they undertake in their communities. The group can play a crucial role in helping us meet and connect with people we wouldn’t otherwise meet.

So, if there’s one thing you do after reading this article, I would encourage you to think about the role your group plays in connecting your community and share it. After a year of hardship, this is our chance to reconnect, and we need you to help us do it.

Challenge the narrative that we are a divided society,

By sharing your stories of unusual friendships, unlikely leaders and acts of kindness, we can paint a more accurate picture of our UK – one where we care about each other and the world we live in.

Reflect

As you approach a new BB session, have you considered how well your group represents the community which it is part of? Is there more your group can do to recruit children and young people from different backgrounds?

Do you celebrate what you are doing?

Do you shout enough about what you are actually doing within communities, and how your work brings people together? It’s an incredibly positive thing to be friends with people who share different backgrounds, different points of view, or were born in different centuries!

Alice Braybrook
Director of the Together Initiative 

Find out more about the Together campaign
together.org.uk

Share your stories by email to
gazette@boys-brigade.org.uk

On social media
@theboysbrigade

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