A local multi-cultural festival which was under threat of closure by the BNP, goes ahead later this month, bigger and better than ever before, with financial backing from Nestle, one of Croydon’s biggest employers.The New Addington People’s Carnival takes place over the weekend of June 19-20, staged by local residents who were keen to revive community spirit.
During the run-up to the recent local elections, however, candidates for the British National Party called for the scrapping of the carnival, saying “it was for immigrants”.
The BNP failed to get any councillors elected in Croydon, and now New Addington is looking forward to celebrating its community this summer.
“This event is going from strength to strength,” John Smithies, chairman of the organising committee, said. “I think the idea is working, although I wasn’t 100 per cent sure when I saw the British National Party had said it was for immigrants and they wanted to cancel the day if they won the election.
“They obviously don’t get the gist of it.
“It really does bring everyone together – I mean, it’s free food so it’s not that much of a shock but, if you come along, you are committing to being part of the spirit of the day. The menu has not yet been finalised but there will be food from all over the world.
“There are a lot of different groups, clubs and cultures in New Addington and Fieldway, who might not speak to each other normally and the idea behind People’s Day is to get them all out together and make them realise they aren’t as bad as they thought they were.”
For the first time this year, the People’s Day is taking place on the same weekend as the New Addington Carnival, with a special edition of “New Addington’s Got Talent” – open to all wannabe singers, dancers and variety acts.
“I am particularly pleased the carnival will be held for the first time in many years and that the two events will complement one another,” Smithies said.
The wider Croydon community is also supporting the event, including a four-figure sponsorship from Nestle UK towards the staging costs.
The People’s Day takes place on June 19 from midday to 4pm, with the carnival – including a procession of carnival princes and princesses from all the local schools – on June 20.
To enter the talent show visit www.peoples-carnival.com