A BBC Children in Need-backed programme to develop activities and events that will bring together Wisbech children and young people of all nationalities is gearing up for its first big event on May 18.
The £178,000 three-year project is being delivered by the Rosmini Centre in Queens Road in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, aided by £99,000 from the BBC charity fund.
The new programme’s first event, a balloon race, barbecue, music, games and dance fun day to celebrate International Children’s Day will be happening from 10am to 4pm at the Rosmini Centre, on the same day that an anti-immigration protest is planned for the town.
The centre’s development manager Anita Grodkiewicz said: “Ever since our charity began as a community group eight years ago, it’s been working with new arrivals to promote integration through social contact with the wider community.
“It’s not an accident we’re holding this event on May 18. We brought it forward because we wanted to offer a positive safe alternative to what’s planned at the other side of the town.
“We’ve held International Children’s Day events here for several years – last year we had more than 300 people of all ages attending.
“This year we’re holding our first balloon race to raise money towards the big youth football tournament we’re planning for the summer holidays thanks to the Children in Need grant.
“The balloon competition will close and cash prizes will be awarded for the balloons that have travelled furthest on the actual International Children’s Day, June 1.
“We’re selling £1.50 tickets for each balloon up to their release on May 18.”
The Children in Need grant is being paid in instalments across three years to cover one development worker and one youth worker who are already in post and a number of session workers to deliver multi-cultural workshops and courses in art, dance, sports, language and music.
Before the new project began the Rosmini Centre already had members of staff and volunteers reflecting the multi-cultural nature of Wisbech today. The 120 volunteers include 40 from migrant communities – the rest are local Wisbech people.