Community in Conversation

You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote about an event going on in Earley bringing different cultures together. Here’s an article about the group: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/reading-berkshire-news/community-conversation-group-unite-against-10698694

Well, I went, and it was brilliant! V well attended with a great mix of people and there was an energetic and friendly atmosphere. It was extremely well organised with people to direct you in the car park, people in the foyer to welcome and give you a name badge and a ‘bingo’ sheet as an icebreaker to find people, such as those who loved cheese, had run the half marathon and didn’t own a mobile phone. Everyone was so friendly to go up to and start chatting about anything! There were a number of people who worked on local community projects and I did my best to try to get them thinking as themselves as potential local candidates in elections (got to try!). I talked to some people about how we don’t tend to know our neighbours as home is where we crash after a day’s work, eat dinner and spend time with family. There aren’t many reasons to knock on neighbours’ doors. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to realise you live on a street full of friends?

I chatted to Samiya who organised the event and she said she started it due to worries about hostilities between neighbours in the wake of the Paris attacks and people’s paranoia tipping into attacks on local Muslims. She said in Earley everyone has been lovely and she wanted to organise something to promote cohesian and inspire the group to help the local community such as helping elderly neighbours with gardening or knitting mittens for people with dementia. The potential of the group is exciting and there was a brilliant spread of food for lunch. It was a fantastic social event with the Minister of Earley St Peter’s Church in attendance and there was an announcement that a local mosque was having an open afternoon to greet any non-muslims the next day. An absolutely brilliant event, I’m so glad I attended. A huge thank you to all the organisers who worked so hard!

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