Diversity day brings communities together in Hartlepool

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An event which aimed to bring together diverse communities from across Hartlepool has been hailed a huge success.

The Diversity Day was organised by the Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Steering Group and took place recently in St Joseph’s Church Hall in Hutton Avenue in an effort to build relationships and understanding between various communities.

Special guests included Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger and Hartlepool MP Iain Wright who came along to show their support.

A key feature of the day was the presentation of awards to the organisations, companies and individuals, who work to provide the vital support needed to assist asylum seekers and refugees who now live in the town.

Those who were persented with awards during the event were; Lorna Hilton, Tony Metcalfe, Lorraine Wilson, Helen Laws, Iain Laws, Mary Diver, Peter Gowland, Sister Jo Grainger, Jon Wales, Anna Lewis, Andy Gray, Irene Cross, MKM and St Joseph’s Church.

Desmond Dongo, Chair of the Hartlepool Asylum Seeker and Refugee Steering Group, said: “We held the event to try to build relationships within the community and promote understanding of different cultures, so we were delighted that so many people came along.

“The awards were a new feature of the annual event and a way for us to acknowledge the excellent support services for asylum seekers and refugees that exist in Hartlepool.

“They also aimed to recognise the on-going support that we receive from a number of volunteers who willingly give up their time to help us.

“I know from experience just how vital such support is, and I think that, as a town, Hartlepool should be very proud of the way it goes about caring for asylum seekers and refugees.”

The day also featured a presentation which looked at tackling radicalisation and extremism.There was also a display of traditional dancing from China and Sri Lanka, live music, food of the world, children’s crafts and a children’s magic show.