Unity Festival to combine cultures

KERRY Turner understands the vast nature of Tweed’s multicultural make-up better than most.

For the past six years Ms Turner has volunteered her time to work with people from Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.

In that time she has noticed a lack of information on the services available to the different groups.

So Ms Turner has been busy creating the Unity Festival, an event she hopes will bring together and showcase the diverse cultures of the Tweed, while creating awareness for available services.

The festival, to be held at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds on November 3, will be a melting pot of various music, dance and art displays from Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islands, Indian, Indonesian, Filipino and African origins.

Ms Turner said the festival was a great opportunity to bring community services to these people who would not have used them in their day-to-day lives.

“We were finding that people from CALD communities were not accessing community services, so we wanted to show them that these services are available to everybody,” said Ms Turner.

She said hesitation to access these services could be attributed to language barriers and the fact that these people are simply unaware the services are available.

“Also, because of the situations in their native countries they often have a fear of trusting government organisations.”

The festival will also give members of the public an opportunity to experience different cultures by learning the history of the many nations being showcased.

Despite the festival being in its inaugural year, organisers have big plans for the future.

A three-to-five-year development plan includes aspirations to make the festival a three-day event, which will utilise the entire Murwillumbah Showground.

Ms Turner said despite it being organised to assist people from CALD communities, the festival was also an opportunity to create a quality tourist attraction for the Tweed area.

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