‘Remembering the kindness of strangers: Division, unity and social connection during and beyond COVID-19’ is a report by British Future on behalf of the /together coalition, examining public attitudes to social connection during the COVID-19 crisis.
It finds an increased sense of unity among the public following the shared experience of COVID-19 – but warns that divisions may be re-emerging as the lockdown eases.
Research for the report comprised two waves of nationally-representative research, conducted by ICM in March and again in May/June; a series of online discussion groups with members of the public across the country; and WhatsApp diaries over the four weeks that followed, probing deeper into how people were feeling across the country.
The report is released to mark the launch of talk/together, which aims to be the biggest public conversation seen in the UK, seeking to find out how we can build more shared moments that bring people together. It asks how we can keep hold of the new community spirit built up during lockdown; and how we can help to bridge some of the angry divides of the past.
It finds that people liked the new connectedness and community spirit that developed at this most difficult of times – and want to keep hold of it. Yet much of our sense of division has not gone away.