Calls for Hackney Carnival to have more grassroots participation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:16 04 February 2020

Performers in Hackney Carnival 2019. Picture: Harris Shoots

Performers in Hackney Carnival 2019. Picture: Harris Shoots

Harris Shoots

Almost 90 per cent of people surveyed by the council say Hackney Carnival makes them feel proud of the borough – but more will be done this year to reach out to more parts of the community.

Hundreds of revellers turned up to watch the Hackney Carnival parade. Picture: Andy CommonsHundreds of revellers turned up to watch the Hackney Carnival parade. Picture: Andy Commons

At a meeting of the council's Living in Hackney scrutiny commission on January 20, carnival groups and councillors discussed what the carnival brings to the borough, how to make it even better this year and how to keep it safe, accessible and enjoyable.

Many attendees said it celebrates cultural diversity and increases understanding but it was agreed greater engagement with Turkish, Kurdish, Orthodox Jewish, and Asian communities will help the council understand why their presence has been less visible at carnival in previous years.

Cllr Sade Etti said: "Some residents had no idea that Hackney festival was going on in the borough, and that was a great concern for me because I feel every one should have a feel that Hackney carnival is going on."

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She continued: "I want to see Hackney grassroots participation at the next carnival - deep-down community engagement."

The council has created an application process to make it easier for organisations to take part.

Since 2013, the number of people attending Hackney Carnival has increased from 12,000 to 88,0000 and the council is planning to increase its budget and security for September's event.

A survey by the council at last year's event found the carnival is overwhelmingly thought to be beneficial.

A representative from Lower Clapton's Uprising Community Club said: "When you see seniors who usually are very isolated and are now feeling very empowered speaking openly about being a part of the carnival it shows it's made a great impact."

Morningside Primary School and Children's Centre was the only school to participate in 2019. Children's centre manager Marie Kerrigan said the event gave families and children a boost: "It's a stepping stone for a bigger world."

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