It has been another busy month here in the Manchester Gorton constituency.

I was pleased to be able to attend events in Alexandra Park to mark the Independence Day of Somalia, remembering the anniversary of the unification of the former British and Italian Somalilands and the formation of the Somali Republic on 1 July 1960. We’re lucky to have a vibrant and growing Somali community here in Manchester, particularly in Moss Side and Rusholme, and it was an honour to be asked to join their celebrations in one of the constituencies most beautiful public green spaces.

This month, Hindus celebrated Rath Yatar. The Bhavan Gita Temple in Whalley Range kindly invited me to join them for their colourful and joyous festivities. Across our constituency, we are lucky to have such incredible diversity in faith and culture. The coming together of our many communities makes Manchester such an amazing place to live and work.

Manchester’s Mega Mela returned after a two year hiatus due to COVID-19. I was pleased that once again the Mela took place in the heart of my constituency at Platt Fields Park, adjacent to the historic Curry Mile and the heart of Manchester’s South Asian communities in Rusholme and Longsight.

Nearly twenty years ago, I was proud to play a part in the founding of the Mega Mela. Since it began, we’ve seen its incredible success and growth into one of the largest events in the North West, attracting up to a hundred thousand people from all backgrounds and showcasing the cultural and religious diversity of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This year, the Mela coincided with South Asian Heritage Month making for an extra special event to celebrate our shared culture, and its place in modern Britain. Across the weekend we saw a huge cross section of organisations from across the city, from the police to health services, to both celebrate South Asian culture and support our Manchester community. The Mela brings music, dance, food and traditional arts and crafts to the heart of Manchester. I am looking forward to joining the celebrations with everyone again next year. Thank you to the management committee and everyone involved in the Mela for their hard work in making this great event possible.

We’re also lucky in our part of Manchester to have a huge variety of carnivals, street parties and celebrations that take place across the Summer months.

Levenshulme Square Residents Association’s annual street party – Lev Square Fest – took place this year on Cuthbert Avenue, between Mayford Road and Matthews Lane. It was another wonderful cross-community event, with everything from live music to circus skill lessons, and of course the mandatory bouncy castle! It was a great opportunity to speak to residents right on their door-steps.

I was also pleased to be invited to the Gorton Carnival in Debdale Park. It’s another another wonderful cross-community event, with stalls and entertainment and even a classic car show. The Carnival also shows off Gorton’s wonderful Debdale Park and its many attractions and facilities. Thanks must go to the Gorton Events Committee for arranging the Carnival.

These events wouldn’t happen without the hard-work of local volunteers, so thank you again to Levenshulme Square Residents Association and the Gorton Events Committee, respectively, for putting each of these events together, and for your kind invitation.

The Shahjalal Mosque on Eileen Grove hosted the Rusholme Community BBQ and Bake Off, complete with another bouncy castle. On a more serious note, the Mosque took this opportunity to raise funds to support the victims of flooding in Sylhet, Bangladesh. The impact of climate change will mean more extreme weather events, the burden of which will fall most on the world’s poorest. Earlier in the month I was able to attend a meeting at the Mosque with Manchester’s Bangladeshi community to discuss the impact of the floods, and my thoughts are with the victims, and their family and friends.


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