Festival of Cultures brings people from different backgrounds together
PUBLISHED: 17:01 20 January 2018
Copyright: Archant 2018
A celebration of different cultures aimed at bringing people from diverse backgrounds together took place in Norwich.
Mental health charity Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind held its 11th Festival of Cultures at The Forum on Saturday.
The group said it wanted to celebrate cultural diversity and increase awareness and understanding amongst communities.
Paola Colombo, of the Wellbeing Service, described the festival as a day of celebration for everyone who came from a different cultural background to show how proud they were of where they came from.
She said while Norwich was becoming increasingly diverse, it was not easy for people from other countries to adapt to life in the city.
“Many find it difficult to settle. It could be because they don’t speak English, battle with the weather or don’t have support.
“This creates stress, depression and anxiety,” she said.
“We try to help them deal with these issues through a guidance and information service.”
She said exhibitors at Saturday’s festival included the Association of Norfolk and Norwich Muslims.
Lutfur Rahman, who was representing two mosques in Rose Lane, Norwich, said the event had been a success.
“We have been promoting Islam and there has been a lot of interest from people,” he said.
“We have found Norwich people to be very friendly and interested in what we do.”
Arabic coffee and food from west Africa and Bulgaria were also available for visitors to try.
“We also had some fitness activities on the go for people to take part in,” said Mrs Colombo.
Ruth Taylor, of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, said cultural identity was the cornerstone of “our wellbeing and good mental health”.
“Norwich has a long history of being welcoming to strangers,” she added.
“But in recent years we’ve seen a rise in Islamaphobia, issues around immigration and a rise in hate crime, which places stress on minority communities.”
She said events such as the Festival of Culture and community work undertaken by a range of organisations was making a difference.
“We’ve definitely built stronger relations with the black, minority and ethnic communities and have helped changed perceptions.”