Spirit of 2012 awards £35,000 to fund the Radical Kindness programme

  • Drawing on research from Belong – The Cohesion and Integration Network, Radical Kindness will bring together engaging, inspiring and evidence-based content about acts that build connections across communities.
  • Radical Kindness is defined as ‘kindness which reaches across differences’*, and has the power to promote integration and social cohesion, whilst addressing underlying prejudice.

Social mixing is one of the most powerful ways of reducing prejudice and promoting empathy between different groups of people. During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, while opportunities for social mixing declined sharply, instances of civic support, community connection and mutual aid surged. As we emerge from lockdown, we face a crossroads, with a situation has the potential to both unite or divide sections of society along fault lines such as ethnicity, faith, disability, and socio-economic divides. Added to this, rising hate crime and the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, the risk of long-term division goes far beyond the immediate impact of social distancing. 

At its heart, Radical Kindness aims to capture and propagate creative and inspiring reminders of the power of social connection, particularly across difference. Funded by Spirit of 2012, the London 2012 legacy funder, Radical Kindness will raise the profile of projects and initiatives that break down barriers and create sustainable connections through kindness. 

In partnership with the University of Kent, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Belong’s ‘Beyond Us and Them’ research project is investigating the impact of Covid-19 on social cohesion. Radical Kindness draws on these findings, using data and stories to produce engaging, inspiring content that promotes radical kindness. The programme celebrates the people and projects building bridges across difference, for example those working with young people, asylum seekers and refugees, intergenerational projects, cross-cultural and interfaith work. 

Radical Kindness will develop audio and visual content, creating accessible, informative, and inspiring materials that bring the research to life. A range of podcasts, webinars and case studies will showcase best practice, with the people and projects doing radical kindness work at the heart of the conversation.

Announcing the award, Ruth Hollis, CEO of Spirit of 2012 said: “We’re delighted to continue working with Belong – the Cohesion and Integration Network through Radical Kindness. Drawing on the ‘Beyond Us and Them’ research, Radical Kindness explores the power of connection across difference, showcasing best practice and the incredible work of individuals and groups.”

Jo Broadwood, CEO of the Belong Network, said: “We believe radical kindness is key to building trust and cohesion between groups, particularly as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We are therefore grateful to Spirit of 2012 for supporting with this project to highlight the role of radical kindness in bringing people together across difference, celebrating a sense of belonging and wider social connections.”

* From research and policy work carried out by The Carnegie Trust and others