More in Common, Batley & Spen newsletter


November 2019


‘Tis the season of cosy evenings indoors, the best TV schedules and perhaps the biggest to-do lists of the year! Welcome to the November 2019 More in Common, Batley and Spen newsletter, where we will share details of our Great Winter Get Together campaign – #mincepiemoments. For those of us looking for Christmas gift inspiration for little ones, we also have an idea for your shopping lists. You will find out more about how our national work on civility in public life came to Batley and we are thrilled to share the phenomenal progress being made with the Jo Cox Community Wood in Liversedge.


As the days get colder it’s time to make our communities warmer. The Great Winter Get Together



The Great Winter Get Together #Mincepiemoments is back! We recognise that December can be a very busy, sociable month, but we also know that for many people the festive period and cold Winter months can also be a difficult time, and many of us can feel lonely. So we continue the spirit of our Great Get Together weekend in June to bring people together, have fun and to reach out to include those who may be alone at this time of year.


It is in this spirit, we encourage you to extend festive goodwill and get together over a mince pie – or any festive treat of your choosing! You could visit an elderly neighbour, invite someone who lives alone to your Christmas meal or organise an event in your community or workplace. You can find resources and ideas of how to take part here. We would love to see what you get up to so please share your pictures on social media using #mincepiemoments.


We at More in Common, Batley and Spen will be showcasing our Christmas jumpers throughout our month-long plan of #mincepiemoments. We are very much looking forward to getting together and sharing a mince pie or two at all of our visits and events which include a community Christmas meal in partnership with Batley Bulldogs RLFC (The Dog’s Dinner!), carol singing at care homes and #mincepiemoment conversations at libraries across Heckmondwike, Birstall and Cleckheaton. If you would like to take part with the group please email batleyandspen@jocoxfoundation.org for details of all the visits and events.


Read all about it...


An action packed new children's book to support The Jo Cox Foundation

We are delighted that Yorkshire based writer, journalist and political commentator Lance Price has written a new children’s book and will generously donate all proceeds to The Jo Cox Foundation. Petrified is a story in which you will meet Zoe who with the help of her new friends - aliens, Queen Victoria, Mahatma Ghandi and Winston Churchill amongst others, must find a way to save the world!

Lance Price, who worked with Jo before her death said,

“Jo Cox famously reminded us that we all have more in common than that which divides us. She was a big Dr Who fan but I doubt if even she could have imagined having much in common with an alien heading our way. She had a great sense of fun, though, so I hope she would have liked the idea.

Sam Vickers, headteacher at Upper Batley High School and member of More in Common, Batley and Spen recommends the new book, “Petrified is a great book, suitable for early readers and enjoyable for all ages. The story is told from the eyes of a young girl, and captures wonderfully some key historical figures and the role they played in shaping Britain as we know it today.”


At only £6.75 the book is an absolute must-have for the young readers your lives, so order the book in time for Christmas and support The Jo Cox Foundation here. Or you can purchase a signed copy of the book and meet Lance at Batley Library on 2 December, 1pm - 3pm for our booktastic Great Winter Get Together launch event!


Leading the way in Batley


Local election candidates become the first to pledge support for a respectful campaign.

You may remember from last month’s update that The Jo Cox Foundation is developing a Joint Standard of Conduct for all political parties as part of its work around intimidation and abuse in public life. The Standard sets out appropriate behaviours for members to promote civility and respect in public discourse.


The work came to life in Batley when all general election candidates in Batley and Spen put aside their political differences to come together to pledge support for the Foundations call for a respectful campaign.


They led the way for many other candidates across the country to follow suit, agreeing to take responsibility for setting an appropriate tone when campaigning; lead by example to encourage and foster constructive democratic debate and tolerance of other points of view; and promote and defend the dignity of others, including political opponents, treating all with courtesy and respect.


Kim Leadbeater, Jo’s sister and ambassador for the Foundation said,


“My sister believed in robust political debate, but she also believed that we can debate our differences without abuse or personal attacks. It means a great deal to my parents and me that the candidates in the constituency that Jo loved so much have signed up to the kind of politics she represented."


Volunteers don wellies and gloves for planting season at Jo Cox Community Wood

It was heart-warming to see dozens of volunteers come together to plant the first of the trees and hedges that will make up the Jo Cox Community Wood in Liversedge. Volunteer led group, The Spen Valley Civic Society are leading the transformation of the patch of land to create the wood, which will eventually become a community asset for everyone to enjoy.


The ambitious plans for the site include an outdoor classroom, and children from ten local schools are taking part in the planting too. Jo’s family planted an oak tree in memory of Jo and Kim Leadbeater, said,


“Jo was passionate about nature - she would love the idea of an outdoor facility which can be used by the whole community."


The wood will also include an orchard of apple and pear trees dedicated to local activist and former member of the Spen Valley Civic Society John Appleyard, who died in July 2019. John began circulating news relating to community matters at the request of Jo in Appleyards Almanac, which became a regular item in inboxes across the district and is sorely missed since John’s passing. Appleyard’s Orchard will serve as a tribute to John who gave much of his time to community groups.

Cambridge University present the third Jo Cox Memorial Lecture

Jo attend the University of Cambridge and as someone from a northern working-class background in Yorkshire, she initially found it difficult to adjust to student life. Nevertheless, she excelled and continues to inspire young people from our region to continue into higher education.


Some of the More in Common, Batley and Spen team were delighted to attend the annual Jo Cox Memorial Lecture, organised by the Department of Sociology and Murray Edwards College. You can watch the full lecture here.


The lecture was delivered by the former Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow. John spoke emotionally and eloquently about his experiences of and views on British politics. He also shared many kind words about Jo and talked about her ability to be both an internationalist and rooted in her local community.


“She knew that helping people in Birstall was not incompatible with helping people in Aleppo” - John Bercow


Get involved with More in Common, Batley and Spen

There are many ways in which you can be part of continuing Jo’s legacy with More in Common, Batley and Spen. Inspired by Jo, we aim to build a strong and compassionate community and to celebrate the many great things and people in our local area, and we would love you to be part of this. How about:


  • Organising an event or get together this December as part of the Great Winter Get Together #mincepiemoments Click here for ideas and resources.
  • Volunteering with us: our volunteers are a brilliant group of people who give their time to make things happen! Learn new skills and make friends by volunteering with our team. Email batleyandspen@jocoxfoundation.org to find out more.



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