The arrival of a New Year is traditionally a time for personal resolutions designed to bring about individual improvement, but as the 2020s get under way today a collective call is being made to jointly kick-start a “decade of reconnection”.
Leading figures from the world of religion, culture, sport, civil society, business and media have joined together to publish an open letter urging people to make a New Year’s resolution to start rebuilding connections between neighbours and fellow citizens.
It is notable that the signatories include the former heads of the Leave and Remain referendum campaigns in 2016, Matthew Elliot and Will Straw.
This is particularly important after the issue of Brexit has caused so much rancour, tension and division in the country in the past few years, not just between different political factions but most pertinently affecting families, friends and neighbours.
Of course, disconnection in our society dates back much further than the EU referendum in 2016, with the debate over Brexit merely bringing to the surface many underlying divisions rather than causing them. Many communities from different ethnic, faith and class backgrounds have been living side-by-side with little contact for decades.
Parallel to this, more than one in five people in the country say they often or always feel lonely.
As The Yorkshire Post’s award-winning and long-running loneliness campaign shows, such issues cannot be solved overnight but progress can be made relatively simply.
By joining a community group or local choir or just reconnecting with old friends you have lost touch or starting a conversation with someone on your street you’ve never spoken to, small actions by multiple people can have a much wider impact.
Together, we can make a difference.