New consultation launched by /Together coalition

A public consultation on how best to avoid new divisions in society is being launched by the /Together coalition, whose Board of Trustees is chaired by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines. 
A major new poll by ICM suggests that most people feel the country is significantly less divided as a result of Covid-19.
Only 45% of those polled agreed with the statement that “The UK has never felt so divided in my lifetime”, compared to 60% at the beginning of the pandemic.
But a new report for /Together, which helped organise the huge ‘thank-you clap’ on the birthday of the NHS, warns that new divisions could emerge as the lockdown eases.
In a foreword to the report, entitled Remembering the Kindness of Strangers, Bishop Nick, writes: “We are entering a period of deep economic uncertainty, one that will heighten existing inequalities and strain our society further still.”
Bishop Nick argues that going forward: “we must start to disagree better: recognising and respecting our differences while remembering our common humanity and citizenship, with all the mutual obligations these demand of us.”
Following the report the public consultation, called ‘talk/together’, will include an on-line survey, discussion groups in every nation and region of the UK, and a further representative opinion poll at the end of the year. 
In what organisers believe will be the biggest consultation since the census, it will ask how we can build more shared moments that bring people together; how we can keep hold of the new community spirit built up during lockdown; and how we can help bridge the angry divisions of the past.
Bishop Nick said: “Talk/together is a conversation that everyone can be part of - about what unites and divides us, and how we can help reconnect with each other. 
“We want to find out how we keep hold of the new community spirit built up during lockdown – and help bridge the angry divisions of the past.
“Millions of people came together on the NHS’s birthday to spend time with neighbours and say thank you to all those who are helping us get through the Covid crisis. 
“That showed how much we’ve relied on each other of late – and the value we all place on social connection.”
For more information about /Together, the ICM survey, the Remembering the Kindness of Strangers report and the talk/together consultation, please click here.

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