Next week The Challenge will be taking part in The Great Get Together – a series of nationwide events to bring together communities, neighbours and friends. Inspired by the late MP Jo Cox, we will unite around her important message that 'we have more in common than that which divides us.'

 EducationIt's a message that chimes closely with The Challenge's vision of a more integrated society. A chance to see the world from different perspectives, walk in someone else's shoes and burst our bubbles.

 The Great Get Together comes at a critical time when our country is becoming increasingly segregated. Studies show that we are less likely to trust our neighbours than anywhere else in Europe and our schools are among the most segregated in the developed world. Professor Ted Cantle has spoken about how some in the UK lead parallel lives where they have no contact with others, contributing to segregation and isolation.

Collectively and individually we need to take steps to stop our communities from leading parallel and polarised lives. Research shows that positive exposure to people from different backgrounds can strengthen bonds of trust, and form strong lasting relationships across communities. Our NCS programme exemplifies how connecting people from different backgrounds can build lifelong friendships and dissolve prejudices.

As the country prepares to cast its votes in the general election, The Great Get Together offers a chance for communities to come together and share common values.

We all have our part to play in building more trusting and cohesive communities. Now we must seize opportunities to get together and have meaningful contact with those from different walks of life to ourselves.

Chatting to our neighbours, sharing a cup of tea is all part of how we build trust in our communities. The Great Get Together gives us the opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds and celebrate all that we hold in common.

 To take part in The Great Get Together go to: https://www.greatgettogether.org/

Caroline Sixsmith, Campaigns Manager at The Challenge