Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development, blogs about The Great Get Together.
In my role as Executive Member for Community Development, I am struck often by the generosity and kindness the people of our borough display in caring for their neighbours. However events across the world, the Brexit vote, the election of Trump and global terrorist attacks have left many of us feeling that our communities are divided.
As the austerity cuts by the Government continue to pile on; the majority of people’s lives feel insecure. There is a real danger that people look increasingly inwards. Islington Labour’s values of fairness are central to tackling the risks associated with fear and division. We know if everyone in the borough has a real chance to a decent life, we will all benefit.
In Islington there is so much to celebrate and understanding our common challenges means being able to tackle them together.
In order to encourage unity in our community, Islington Council has decided to join in with the Jo Cox Foundation’s new initiative, The Great Get Together - which looks to bring together neighbours and communities – on the weekend of the 17th and 18th of June 2017.
Last year, the Labour Party lost one of its greatest community champions, Jo Cox MP, in a brutal act of extremism. She had worked tirelessly to bring people across the UK and across the developing world together, to show us that “we have much more in common than that which divides us”– as she herself had proclaimed during her maiden speech in Parliament.
In Islington we have hosted events that celebrate and champion community, such as the Love Islington rally, where we got 400 local residents together to Say No to Hate Crime with our faith leaders present and our local MPs.
Altogether, the council’s VCS Grants programme, Local Initiative Fund, Community Chest Fund and our Festivals Fund, has invested £3.3 million into the social fabric of our borough. This is vital not only in terms of supporting our most vulnerable residents but also in bringing members of our community together.
But as ever we want to go further, by supporting local people to take control and organise their own community events, from picnics in the local park to tea dances; whether it’s a coffee morning or a party. Let’s celebrate the Great Get Together! And to back this, the Council is awarding grants of up to £500 per group or event. Residents have up until Sunday the 7th of May 2017 to apply.
Hate, division, ignorance and fear are destructive and have no place in Islington. Through the simple things in life, such as love for family, food or music we can find great commonality, an increased understanding of each other that benefits everyone.
So, I hope you enjoy getting together and finding out what you have in common.
To find out more information please visit: https://www.islington.gov.uk/advice/voluntary-community-organisations/funding/council_funding/the-great-get-together-17-to-18-june-2017
Applications are to be submitted via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for applications is Sunday 7 May 2017 (11:59pm)
Pictured - Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Executive Member for Community Development