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Borough’s diversity to be celebrated at Ilford’s first Festival of Colour

PUBLISHED: 09:51 10 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:51 10 March 2015

People throwing brightly coloured powder in the air during the Holi One Festival, at Battersea Power Station in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

People throwing brightly coloured powder in the air during the Holi One Festival, at Battersea Power Station in London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The sky will be brightened with bursts of vivid colour at an attraction celebrating the borough’s diversity.

Rachel Stovold, right, and Sumeet Dhamu, of charity Basti Ram, which is holding the Festival of Colour in IlfordRachel Stovold, right, and Sumeet Dhamu, of charity Basti Ram, which is holding the Festival of Colour in Ilford

Charity Basti Ram is hosting the “Festival of Colour”, in which vibrant powders are thrown into the air and over visitors.

It is inspired by the Indian festival Holi, which marks the coming of spring.

Fundraising officer and project leader Rachel Stovold said: “It is very exciting for us.

“We have wanted to do this for a long time.

“Redbridge is a very diverse place and this is something we should all celebrate.”

The festival, to be held in Melbourne Field, Valentines Park, Ilford, on March 21, will feature multicultural performances, stalls selling hand-crafted pieces and food from around the world.

Thought to be the first of its kind in Redbridge, it is part-funded by a Comic Relief grant.

But what sets it apart from other attractions is that it has been organised by more than 13 young people, who have been assisting Basti Ram with the preparations since Christmas.

The volunteers, aged between 16 and 24, are undertaking weekly workshops and completing an Asdan (the Award Scheme Development Accreditation Network) qualification.

Rachel said: “They are all really enjoying it; it is something a bit different for them.

“They started off with setting up the social media and contacting people who might like to perform, but now they are focusing on promotion and getting it out there.”

For Basti Ram, which was founded in Ilford but has been based in Hackney for more than a year, the project being led by young people is meaningful as it is a youth organisation.

The charity supports disadvantaged youths in both the UK and India.

Rachel said: “We are a youth organisation and we wanted to really give young people that responsibility and get them to experience something new.”

The charity hopes the festival, to be held from noon to 4pm, will be a success with the community.

“The idea is when we have colour on our faces we all look the same. It is about looking past the differences people might initially think of and bringing everyone together.”


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