Something like 17 million people in the UK took an active part in the recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations, according to the Together coalition, the organisation behind the Thank You Day campaign, who say their aim is “to build kinder, closer and more connected communities by bringing people together and bridging divides.” Regardless of our personal views on the jubilee celebrations and the UK monarchy more generally – an issue of obviously limited relevance in large parts of the world – we can all surely agree on the importance of strong communities. That’s why building stronger communities is one of the urgent life challenges we face. Raising the profile of community education is key to Life-Based Learning so that children and young people have the knowledge, skills and values that enable them to play a positive role throughout their lives in the communities of which they are part.
Polling carried out for the Together coalition suggests that 4.7 million people helped organise a jubilee event, about 8.7 million attended a Thank You Day event and 3.3 million helped to organise one. The Together coalition was co-founded by Brendan Cox, husband of the politician Jo Cox, who was murdered while out campaigning in 2016.
In their mission statement the Together coalition say:
We want to see a society where people are connected with their community and feel a part of it. Ones in which increased contact builds deeper relationships and enhanced understanding, especially of those we previously saw as different. Ones where connecting ideas, events and institutions underpin our communities and help us tackle loneliness and prejudice. Where our increased connections improve our well-being, our health and our social capital. And where our communities are equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead.from the website of the Together coalition
The Jo Cox Foundation was established following Jo’s death. Its aim is to build a positive legacy for Jo by championing the issues that she cared about. Initiatives and campaigns run by the foundation include:
The future of our communities depends to a large extent on today’s young people and on the generations that follow. That’s why community education matters. Any long-term strategy for building stronger communities must involve looking at what we are teaching children in school. Life-Based Learning (LBL) would raise the profile of community by treating it as one of nine equal themes through which all subject learning can be delivered.
Life-Based Learning aims to organise learning around the modern-day challenges we face. The themes of Relationships and Community sit within a broader category called Society: crucial to human life and living is the ability to relate to — and interact positively with — others, be it family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or wider society.
The image at the head of this article is taken from this page of the BBC website.
Stronger community shared action across a range of issues will make the difference into the future, whether that issue is tackling climate change, people getting on with each other in more positive and productive ways, and neighbours looking out for each other, especially supporting the isolated and the lonely.