Changing attitudes to, and improving the lives of, ex-detainees and migrant communities

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On Saturday 20th May 2017 the Dover Together- Multicultural Festival took place. Samphires aim was to bring the communities of Dover together to celebrate and explore our diversity.  We Showcased the rich variety of cultures which make up Dover, giving people the chance to try new music, food, dance and art, to learn about other cultures, as well as to celebrate traditional British culture, and to see the positive impact that diversity has on the town.

With over 700 people attending between 12pm and 4pm at Pencester Park in Dover,  many people enjoyed the sunshine and being part of a community event. We had over 20 organisations, schools and community groups attending, including Dover Transport Museum, Kent Refugee Help, St Martins School, Skillnet and the British Legion.

In the run up to the festival groups from Dover’s community accessed free workshops which explored some of the different cultures represented in our town. Local primary schools (St Martins, St Richards and Charlton CoE) put on some wonderful performances of dance and music from different cultural heritages that can be found in Dover (African, Indian, Roma).

There were four one hour workshops held throughout the day which were highly attended- they included Tai Chi, African percussion, screen printing and U’Zambezi-dance.

International food was cooked by international cooks that was enjoyed by so many people – cuisines on offer were Caribbean, Syrian, Nepalese, Hungarian and future foods which included meal worm cookies!

Lots of people had a go at the Maypole dancing- it was great ot see the court of Dover princesses all dancing together at one time.

Why did we do it?

The BME (black and minority ethnicity) population in Dover district has increased by 140.3% over the past ten years. Along with poor representation of migrants in the media, this has contributed to negative attitudes towards migrants locally. Unfortunately, since the outcome of the EU referendum even greater antipathy towards migrants has been displayed in the local area with racist graffiti appearing in the town.

In contrast to this the Dover Together festival aimed to bring the diverse communities of Dover together to celebrate and explore our diversity. Showcasing the rich variety of cultures which makes up Dover, the festival proved what a  positive impact diversity can have on the town.

You can go to our facebook page by clicking on the link HERE to see more photos, you may be in one!

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