The Ceremonial Mayor of Salford was the guest of honour at a Christmas event aimed at making European ethnic minorities feel more welcome in Greater Manchester.
The Great Christmas Get Together was organised to bring Eastern European expats who ‘feel like second class citizens’ together, to celebrate Christmas and reduce community tension in Salford.
Kush Chottera, Chief Executive of Europia, the charity that organised the event, said: “I am just pleased that there was a cross-section of community members that came, and I am extremely pleased the ceremonial mayor came along as well, it just gives people a stamp of approval.
“The fact that Brexit has happened and there has been so much of an increase of hate crime and people passing comments, most European expats, especially Eastern Europeans, they feel they are not welcome or wanted. That is why people lack confidence.”
Recent figures from GMP show there has been a huge increase in hate crime in Greater Manchester, with 8243 cases reported from April to December 2017, as opposed to 5641 reported in 2016 over the same period.
Ceremonial Mayor, Councillor Ronnie Wilson, said: “I think we need to work together, so that we have a cohesive group of people who can work and live and enjoy life with everything that comes with it.”
The event was set to be coinciding with the vote on the Brexit agreement, but instead it was delayed and May faced a vote of no confidence.
Europia, who provide support for European Expats, will be offering advice and support early next year leading up to the Brexit date on the 29th of March, and will be providing IT support to help community members complete their residency application forms.
The event took place in St Aidan’s Church on Littleton Road in Salford at 5.30pm on Tuesday evening.
The event included presentations of traditional Lithuanian and Polish Christmas traditions, music from Simon Mulcaster and Romanian musician Michael Cretu, a speech from the Ceremonial Mayor and a visit from Santa.
There was also a selection of homemade Romanian, Polish and Lithuanian delicacies for all the guests.