Tag Archives: Kent Equality Cohesion Council

Maidstone Community Mela Launch

The Maidstone Community Mela was officially launched at kalaRED Bar Restaurant on Wednesday 12th June. The event was attended by key partners including representatives from local community groups, businesses, Kent County Council, Kent Police and Maidstone Borough Council. The chief guests were the Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Marion Ring and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mrs. Louise Bryant.

The Community Mela is organised in partnership by Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Maidstone Cultural Group and is produced by Cohesion Plus.

The purpose of the launch was to update partners around the plans for the Community Mela which this year will take place on Sunday July 14th in Whatman Park and to talk through the programme of activity both on stage and off stage. The Mela has been taking place in the borough since 2003 and despite many financial challenges in recent years has managed to survive and evolve.

Gurvinder Sandher, Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus and Mela Producer commented, “I have been involved with the Mela since its inception and have had the privilege of watching it evolve into an integral arts event in Maidstone’s calendar. I am especially proud of how local community groups and businesses have rallied around in recent years to support us in ensuring the Mela continues in Maidstone. We have put together an excellent programme both on and off stage this year and hope that the local community will come and support it on July 14th”.

Fusion Festival Lights up Gravesend Town Centre

The colourful and vibrant Cohesion Plus produced Fusion Festival came to Gravesend Town Centre on Saturday June 15. The pop up street festival showcased a range of artists and art forms including a roaming elephant, dancing lions, mime artists, samba, bhangra, brass, choir and calypso.

The aim of the festival was to bring culturally diverse arts to the heart of local communities and to showcase new performances especially in an area like Gravesham which has had traditionally low levels of engagement with the arts.

The Festival also saw the premiere of Cohesion Plus’s new production working with Festive Road the “Dancing Maharaja’s” which brought the Town Centre to a standstill. The show features a large colourful elephant accompanied by an entourage of bhangra dancers and dhol drummers from Four by Four Bhangra. The show was part processional and part static performance with lots of interaction with the crowd.

Other highlights included performances by Bloco Fogo Samba, No Street Limit Band, Dancing Chinese Lions and the Rock Choir as well as stilt walkers, mime artists and LV21 who delivered interactive arts workshops for young people.

The festival was organised by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council, and was supported by Gravesham Borough Council and Arts Council England.

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus “There was a real positive vibe in the town centre during the Fusion Festival and I am very proud of what we achieved. I believe strongly that the arts is a great way of bringing communities together and the Fusion Festival is an example of this. We had some great culturally diverse artists performing from different genres and the response to the Dancing Maharajas show was excellent.”

Gravesham Fusion Festival 2019

The popular street based Fusion Festival will be taking place in Gravesend Town Centre and the Gravesham Borough Market on Saturday 15th June between 10.30am to 2.30pm. The festival will bring exciting street artists and art forms to the heart of the local community with performances taking place around the Town Centre including on the High Street, King Street, new Road as well as in Gravesend Borough Market and Windmill Street.

Highlights include Gravesend based No Limit Street Band, Bloco Fogo Samba, Chinese Lions, The Rock Choir, Phase 5 Steel Band and an array of street performers including stilt walkers and human statues. The Festival will also see the premiere of Cohesion Plus’s new production working with Festive Road called the “Dancing Maharaja’s” which will feature a large colourful elephant accompanied by an entourage of dancers and drummers.

The festival is organised by Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Gravesham Borough Council and is supported by Arts Council England.

According to Gurvinder Sandher the Festival Producer “The Fusion Festival has always been a stellar day out for the family and builds upon our recent successful Saint George’s Day celebrations which highlighted the positive community relations enjoyed in the borough. Watch out for the roaming elephant, the giant stilt walkers and the amazing human statutes as you make your way through town! The festival brings an exciting array of culturally diverse performers into the heart of Gravesend transforming the town into a hive of creative activity. We hope the local community will come down and enjoy what promises to be an amazing day out.”

Dartford celebrates Saint George’s Day with arts and colour!

Dartford played host to some of the largest Saint George’s Day celebrations on Tuesday 23rd April. Around 550 children from 9 local schools participated in the annual parade along with hundreds of spectators. The celebrations were organised in partnership by Cohesion Plus and Kent Equality Cohesion Council supported by Dartford Borough Council in what were some of the biggest celebrations taking place in England.

Dartford High Street was abuzz with activity with a number of performances on One Bell Corner including West Hill Morris, Premier Brass Band, DDFK Brass Band, Big Fish and Folkin Fusion Drumming Collective as well as Saint George themed Stilt Walkers.

The Schools began the parade from the Civic Centre and were led by North Kent resident Russell Palmer as Saint George himself. Special guests included the Mayor of Dartford Cllr David Mote and Council Leader Cllr Jeremy Kite MBE. The parade went through the Orchard Shopping Centre and onto the High Street where they were joined by a large scale dragon and hundreds of local residents. The parade stopped briefly at Memorial Gardens where the flag of Saint George was raised before moving on to Central Park where there followed a programme of entertainment which climaxed with the National Anthem.

Gurvinder Sandher, the Artistic Director for Cohesion Plus commented “It was great to see so many people come out and support the Saint George’s Day celebrations. We have always felt that the arts can have a positive impact when it comes to community cohesion and to see so many people from different faiths and backgrounds come together to celebrate the patron saint of England makes us very proud as an organisation. We very much value the ongoing supported by our partners in Dartford and feel that other parts of the country can learn about what we doing when it comes to Saint George’s Day.”

Sun shines on St George’s Day celebrations in Gravesham

Some of the biggest celebrations in England to commemorate Saint George’s Day took place in Gravesham on Tuesday April 23rd. 500 Children from 13 local schools took part in the event which was organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council supported by Gravesham Borough Council and Arts Council England. The celebrations aim to celebrate the patron Saint of England and bring together the diverse communities of the borough.

Celebrations began in Gravesend Town Centre with performances from Hartley Morris Men, Premier Brass Band, DDFK Brass Band, Folkin Fusion Drumming Collective, Saint George themed stilt walkers who entertained large crowds and a large scale mobile Dragon.

The highlight of the celebrations was the schools parade which was led by Saint George enacted by Gravesham resident Russel Palmer. They were followed by the Mayor of Gravesham Cllr David Hurley and local dignitaries and Deputy Lord Lieutenants of Kent, Dr. Bhargwara Vasudaven.

The parade made its way from Community Square and continued up Windmill Street eventually making its way through the Thamesgate Shopping Centre arriving back on Community Square. Throughout the parade members of the public waved their flags of Saint George and encouraged the children as the parade went by. Once the parade climaxed on Community Square the 500 school children sang Happy Birthday to HM The Queen to celebrate her 93rd birthday before the flags of Saint George were raised on Community Square.

Gurvinder Sandher, Artistic Director for Cohesion Plus commented “The arts are a great way of bringing communities together and celebrating our shared values. The Saint George’s Day celebrations in Gravesham are a great testament to this. I was especially pleased with the diverse range of artists and communities that took part further underlining the ethos and mission of our organisation. We strive to promote a cohesive and integrated society in Kent and anyone who attended the celebrations would have seen this in action.”