Eastern European festival nurtures diversity in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 15:19 14 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:20 14 September 2015

The festival was the first of its kind in the borough

The festival was the first of its kind in the borough


Seeds of good-will were sown at the borough’s first Eastern European Harvest Festival on Sunday, which attracted more than 3,000 residents amid late summer sunshine.

The 50th anniversary day at Valence House, Dagenham, showcased traditions from Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine, celebrating the diverse communities within Barking and Dagenham.

Dancing displays, traditional garb and harvest decorations were among the highlights of the free family day out, along with basketball and football competitions, and an education seminar for migrant parents.

“It was a wonderful event that was enjoyed by everyone,” said council leader Darren Rodwell, who was also in attendance.

“Not only did I enjoy all of the entertainment and activities – including a good dance – I also had the pleasure to meet the Lithuanian ambassador I also had the pleasure to meet Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauskienė, the Lithuanian Ambassador.

“This event was a shining example of what can be achieved when the community takes the lead, businesses invest, and the council helps to facilitate, I hope that we can continue to hold many more events using this kind of partnership.”

Charity Diverse Communities organised the afternoon with the help of the council, putting on traditional food and drink, creative workshops and performances from language school students.

“We had a very nice mix of local residents,” said event organiser Lina Madsen.

“We wanted to show how beautiful these traditions are, to encourage better integration in the borough.”

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