Voluntary sector leaders back call for a 'decade of reconnection'

Voluntary sector leaders have joined representatives from business, faith communities, sport and politics to call for the 2020s to be a "decade of reconnection" that will help to heal the UK’s divides.

An open letter, signed by leaders from organisations including the CBI, the British Olympic Association, the Glastonbury Festival, various religious groups and the former heads of both the Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe campaigns, says the UK "feels more fragmented than any of us would like".

It calls for people to make a resolution for the new decade about reconnecting neighbours and fellow citizens.

"While our politics and media have become more polarised we, as people, have not," it says. "There is much that we share with each other: sit any two people down together and they will find some common ground.

"So the power of reconnection will depend on how many of us, as citizens, step up together. "Every institution, too – not just government but education, business, sport, civic society and faith – should play its part in helping bridge social divides."

Voluntary sector chief executives who have added their names to the letter include Karl Wilding of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Angela Salt of Girlguiding, Matt Hyde of the Scouts, Sabir Zazai of the Scottish Refugee Council and Paul Reddish of Volunteering Matters.

Sunder Katwala, director of the charitable think tank British Future, who also signed the letter, said: "As a society we might be more divided than we’d like, but perhaps we are less divided than people keep telling us.

"Look beyond our angry politics at people’s everyday lives and there is so much that we all share.

"There’s a risk that polarisation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if we let it define us. We can’t ignore our differences, but we can focus on the things that do bring us together."

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