Showcase Covid-19 community spirit at Great Get Together in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox

Organisers of an annual event in memory of murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox hope to showcase just how strong the power of community can be during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Great Get Together is now in its fourth year and was inspired by Jo Cox, who was killed on June 16 2016, and her belief that we have 'more in common that that which divides us'.

Held each year on what would have been Jo's birthday weekend, June 19-21, it aims to celebrate her values of kindness, compassion and inclusivity and inspire social connection and community action.

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While the usual mix of street parties, barbecues, picnics and sporting events may not held this year due to the current pandemic, organisers hope people will instead mark the occasion with a socially-distanced event in their street, or connect online or over the phone.

The late Jo Cox MP

Catherine Anderson, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, said: "The Great Get Together is special every year - but perhaps even more so this year as we all find new and innovative ways to reach out to our friends, neighbours and to those in need in our communities, in extremely challenging times.

"Inspired by Jo, we want to make sure that our incredible Great Get Together family across the UK can continue to celebrate Jo's values, which resonate now more than ever before.

"Strengthened bonds and more connected communities will be one of the legacies of covid-19, and we believe that experience of togetherness will outlast the present crisis and endure long into the future."

Among those who have pledged to take part this year is Yasmeen Iqbal, 33, of Heckmondwike, who will be hosting a walk around her community for families with children who have disabilities who she says may be feeling particularly isolated during the pandemic.

Her daughter Liyanah, six, has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair and Yasmeen said: "She's been really down. [Lockdown] affects everything - her mental health, her physical health. We'll be having a walk around the local area on June 19 - my neighbour's children have made a big banner for us to carry - just to show Jo's love. She was a very inspirational person, we just want to keep it going."

Yasmeen has also printed off 500 leaflets to distribute around her neighbourhood to spread the word about the Great Get Together.

Jo Cox's sister Kim Leadbeater said: “Over the past few months we have seen an amazing response from communities around the UK to the Covid-19 epidemic.

"It’s a reminder of Jo’s approach, one we have adopted at her Foundation, that wherever possible we should focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t do.

"I think Yasmeen’s plans for Wakefield are brilliant. They are a fantastic example of why we’ve decided that the Great Get Together, which has always been rooted in community, will go ahead – just in a slightly different way!”

For more information on the Great Get Together visit https://www.greatgettogether.org/or to join Yasmeen's walk around Heckmondwike email her on [email protected]

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