Fete brings community together

PEOPLE from all walks of life flocked to Ipswich Waterfront for an afternoon of sun, samba and belly dancing.

PEOPLE from all walks of life flocked to Ipswich Waterfront for an afternoon of sun, samba and belly dancing.

Organisers were today confident the Waterfront Fete had gone a long way towards building community relations in a fast-developing area of the town.

The village-themed event, organised by Waterfront Action, took place between noon and 4pm on Saturday.

Around 50 organisations came together to promote their services, while restaurants offered free samples of their wares and entertainment was provided by samba and jazz bands, and belly dancing.

Ben Gummer, prospective parliamentary candidate for the conservative party, who visited the event, said: “It is Ipswich at its best. The sense of community is wonderful.

“A lot of the stalls and societies have started in the last couple of years which shows how life is becoming more and more vibrant here. I feel very positive about it.”

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Bernadette Atkans, a member of the Samboomba Samba Band, said the fete had also helped bring together ethnic groups.

The 62-year-old, of Ancaster Road, Ipswich, said: “People have been very impressed by the Lithuanian stall. They want to integrate themselves. The fete is something different for Ipswich.”

The event also gave societies including the scouts, Bumps n' Babes Toddler Group, the Town and Bridge Project, and Quayside Children's Centre a chance to make themselves known.

Jay Harvey, co-ordinator for Waterfront Action, said: “There have been so many different groups getting involved. It has been great for creating awareness because people didn't really know what was going on in the area.

“There has been a tremendous buzz. It is great seeing people living in Regatta Quay looking out from their balconies.”

Festivities continued yesterday on the dockside when singers from eight churches held an outdoor Songs of Praise service at 3pm.

The concert, organised by Waterfront Churches, also gave people the chance to choose their favourite songs and have them played.

Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council and a member of Waterfront Churches, said: “This is really bringing the community together.”

Did you enjoy the fete? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WATERFRONT Action was set up to help build cohesion in a fast-evolving area.

Its inaugural event in April last year - a pirate-themed fun day in Custom House - was hailed a success after more than 1,000 people attended.

The group is now hoping to establish more residents' groups. More than 50 businesses have also expressed an interest in creating a forum.

The group, formerly known as the Waterfront Community Group, recently changed its name to avoid confusion with the unconnected Waterfront Community Centre in Grimwade Street.

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