Festival brings Hartlepool’s different cultures together

National Citizen Service members and guests at the Belle Vue Centre.
National Citizen Service members and guests at the Belle Vue Centre.

Teens from the National Citizens Service (NCS) are delighted after organising a successful event to raise awareness of the range of cultures in Hartlepool.

The team of 15 young people aged between 16 and 18 held the COB festival at the Belle Vue Centre to bring together people from different cultures and religions.

The event, which aimed to raise funds for Hartlepool MIND, featured food from around the world, music and dance.

Alex Lightfoot, 16, from Seaton Carew, had the role of communications manager within his group.

“It was good, as quite a few people turned out,” he said. “We had a range of different religious groups who put on performances throughout the day.

“We had a lot of people from African backgrounds, along with those from Christian, Chinese and Muslim backgrounds, who all live in Hartlepool.”

Guests were treated to performances from each group, including a display of traditional African dress and Chinese dancing.

The event was held from noon to 5pm on Saturday and saw over 100 people attend.

The NCS is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England and is aimed at helping young people build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.

“We decided to do quite a big project in comparison to other groups,” Alex added.

“We spent two weeks preparing for the event by phoning up different groups and churches to see if anyone wanted to come along.

“We wanted to break down perceptions and stereotypes of different groups. We hoped it was an eye-opening experience for people.”

Now the group hope to continue the event in future as a way of bringing communities together.