Impact and Influence

The Belong Network: helping you to build stronger, more cohesive communities in the UK.

Impact and Influence

The Belong Network: helping you to build stronger, more cohesive communities in the UK.

Read our 2023-24 Impact Report

Read Belong’s first Impact Report. It shows how we are making a difference by working with our members and partners to promote cohesion and integration.

Belong – The Cohesion and Integration Network was founded in 2019 with the aim of bringing together people and organisations in the UK working to build cohesion and resilience among communities, to influence policy at a government level and share learning and best practice..

Since then Belong has grown to a network of  over 100 organisations from large businesses to local authorities and grassroots and civil society groups.

We continue to bring together organisations across the social cohesion, social capital and anti-prejudice sectors and to call for social cohesion to become a ‘foundational policy’: at the heart of key policy areas including housing, neighbourhoods, community safety and health and social care decision making in central government.

Together with our members we draw on and develop robust research, high quality training and events.

It’s especially heartening to know that, as well as nourishing the sector in this way, Belong is doing sterling work to make sure our needs and experiences are known to policy makers. Some teenage service-users from my organisation participated in the event. They found it hugely empowering. Above all they felt heard.

Delegate Belonging 2023: Building Resilient Communities

Our Network’s Reach and Influence

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sports and activity providers from across the UK convened for the launch of Belong’s One Team project.

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people and organisations reached on policy and practice through Belong’s convening power, presentations, training and consultancy, or through influencing thinkers and policymakers, Apr 2022-2023.

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of the UK’s largest charities work with Belong to create the Power of Connection Toolkit, supporting volunteer-involving organisations across the UK to build more resilient communities and reach under-represented groups.

Belong Timeline

We’ve achieved a lot in 5-years, but there’s still so much to be done. View some of our milestones and achievements below.

2019: Belong – the Cohesion and Integration Network founded

Belong was founded by a group of thought-leaders, academics and practitioners who recognised the need to convene the UK’s social cohesion sector and come together as a collective voice. They include many of Belong’s Trustees, along with former chair of trustees, Ted Cantle, author of the highly influential Cantle Report, produced in the wake of disturbances across the north of England in 2001.

October 2019: Belong holds its inaugural conference in Manchester, bringing together founder members and the wider sector.

2020: Covid-19 Pandemic – and the start of a ground-breaking research project

March 2020: Beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK

May 2020: Belong begins a major research project ‘Beyond Us and Them’ looking at the effects of the pandemic on community cohesion in six local authorities in the UK plus additional sampling across three nations. The project assesses the happiness, trust and belief in conspiracy theories among people around the UK and the effects of events including lockdowns and the vaccine rollout. It is the only longitudinal research project which studies UK social cohesion during the pandemic.

November 2020: Belong launches Radical Kindness in partnership with Spirit of 2012, sharing inspiring examples of people building cohesion during lockdown with online seminars and events.

2021: Insight and inspiration during lockdown

May 2021: Radical Kindness concludes with ‘Radical Kindness Week’, a celebration of all those working to forge connections in their communities.

Throughout 2021 Belong releases the findings of the Beyond Us & Them research project, offering unparalleled insight into the factors needed to support policy to build community resilience and recovery both following Covid-19 and in the face of future large-scale challenges.

2022: Empowering connection through sport

March 2022: Belong launches The Power of Sport, a free, online toolkit available to any organisation providing sport or exercise-based activity. The toolkit supports organisations to enable better social cohesion outcomes through best practice, guidance, tools and resources.

September 2022: Communities of Practices are launched for Belong Network members in local government, sports provision and to counter hate-crime and prejudice.

December 2022: Belong’s annual conference Belonging 2022 returns in Manchester, bringing together over 80 people from across local government, civil society and business.

2023: Building stronger communities through volunteering and sport

May 2023: Belong launches Shared Ground, a training course and Community of Practice for anyone working to prevent or resolve community tensions

July 2023: Working with more than 30 of the largest charities from across the UK under the Shaping the Future Coalition, Belong produces the Power of Connection toolkit, a free online resource for any volunteer-involving organisation to use.

Sept 2023: Launch of the One Team project, curated by Belong’s Power of Sport Community of Practice looking to spread the use of sport to build connection and resilience in more communities around the UK

November 2023: Belong’s annual conference Belonging 2023 takes place in Manchester, with more than 100 representatives from central and local government, civil society and business convening to look at the relationship between social cohesion and key policy areas including health, housing and community safety.

2024: Expanding our support and amplifying our collective voice

We have big plans for 2024 at Belong, including supporting more organisations to build stronger communities through volunteering with the Power of Connection Toolkit and establishing more Communities of Practice to support our members to network, learn and share with others around the UK. We’ll also be looking to increase our work to influence government policy on social cohesion, building the evidence base and a collective voice on why it must be seen as a foundational policy. Please Contact us if you’d like to find out more.

The opportunity to network and meet with experienced people working on current issues by reflecting on good practices was exceptionally helpful. Re-connecting to like-minded people after a difficult few years was refreshing.

Delegate Belonging 2023: Building Resilient Communities

Explore Our Work

Groundbreaking Research

Our original and ground-breaking research in partnership with the University of Kent on the Beyond Us and Them and Power of Connection projects resulted in 10 reports and 5 peer-reviewed academic articles. Find out more about our research (and access the Belong Library) in the Research and Resources section of the site.


Belong have provided training for local authorities, police and civil society organisations through the year-long Shared Ground programme to assist key officers in averting community tensions and facilitating good relations, as well as developing a range of toolkits. You can find out more in the training section of the website.

Research and Resources

See how we’re building the evidence base on social cohesion with our research and resources.