Culture Bazaar Set To Return To Carlisle This Weekend

Multicultural Cumbria is gearing up for the return of its award-winning Culture Bazaar this weekend.

The spectacular two-day event, which is being held at Carlisle College on Saturday April 22 and Sunday 23, between 12pm and 6pm, will bring people from different backgrounds together to experience the different cultures, food, dance, music and art of people who may not have been born in Cumbria but call it home.

Culture Bazaar founder Saj Ghafoor OBE first brought the multi-cultural event to Carlisle in 2007, albeit in a much smaller form, after realising how many different nationalities there were in Carlisle.

“People always comment on the great atmosphere at Culture Bazaar,” said Saj.

“It’s going to be a great weekend. We have got so much planned for all the family including fantastic live performances, dancing, singing, music and amazing food so people can try authentic home cooking from all the continents.

HSBC, Eden Valley Hospice and Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland, Pride in Cumbria, Cumbria Fire and Rescue, Tullie and Carlisle Refugee Action Group are just a few of the organisations who will be on hand to deliver interactive activities for all the family including badge making, origami and arts and crafts workshops.

The previous bazaar held in 2020 welcomed over 4,000 people to celebrate the diverse communities living in the region, and after an enforced break due to the pandemic, it’s expected that record numbers will attend the free event this weekend. 

The first bazaar welcomed 200 visitors at Greystone Community Centre.

This year Saj expects around 5000 visitors to attend. It is also the weekend of the Islamic Eid-ul-fitr celebrations following the holy month of fasting.

Saj is a strong believer that multiculturalism in the UK is a key factor in promoting inclusivity and diversity across the nation.

“It has been embraced within the UK for many years and has helped to shape the nation into one of the most diverse and accepting countries in the world.

“We must aim to create an environment of acceptance, support and friendship for all so that everyone can contribute to our communities in a meaningful and positive way.”

The 2023 Culture Bazaar aims to further unlock the true Carlisle community spirit of acceptance, understanding and friendship, explained Saj.

“Multicultural Cumbria promotes cultural understanding and integration of the whole community. What better way than to use music, dance, food arts and crafts to connect to people without the barrier of language? This offers everyone the opportunity to experience the richness of world cultures from within our diverse communities.”

Deepa Pillai, who originates from Kerala in India, was one of North Cumbria Integrated Care’s first overseas nurses of 2021 when she  joined the Trust to enhance her career prospects. 

Deepa said: “I don’t know what exactly attracted me to Carlisle in the first place, but I am lucky to be here. I enjoy working on the wards at the Cumberland Infirmary and I’ve always been made to feel very welcome.

“NCIC is an inclusive employer, and everyone respects each other and everyone’s cultural differences. It’s great to be part of such an amazing team.

“I am really looking forward to talking about my experiences and meeting people from other nationalities at this weekend’s Culture Bazaar.”

“By celebrating different ethnicities with events such as the Culture Bazaar we can embrace a more diverse population in Cumbria which has many benefits,” Saj explained.

“It leads to higher levels of economic growth, with businesses and the NHS and statutory bodies taking advantage of the new talent, ideas and resources brought in by immigrants.”

Culture Bazaar would not be possible without the support of its sponsors: HSBC, North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, Cumbria Education Trust, Dodd & Co, The Lottery Community Fund, Carlisle College and The Rebuild Site CIC. 

Nick Kennon Senior Director, Wragg Mark-Bell, “Wragg Mark-Bell is very happy to support this wonderful event which celebrates the inclusivity and diversity of Carlisle.

“Our firm has had a long association with Multicultural Cumbria, and it is fantastic to see how much they have achieved and the opportunities they are bringing to our community.”

Culture Bazaar takes place this weekend – 22 and 23 April between 12:00pm and 6:00pm at Carlisle College.

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