Bridgwater Together, an annual event celebrating the Somerset town’s vibrant cultural diversity through music, food, storytelling, dance, film and information sharing, recently took place online. Rather than cancelling or postponing the event, the organisers, supported by Somerset Diverse Communities (part of Community Council for Somerset (CCS)), found a creative way to host the event using the video conferencing platform Zoom, and audiences logged on to enjoy presentations and performances from the representatives of minority communities living in Bridgwater.
Michal Puzynski, BME Community Engagement Worker at CCS, explained how the team used existing funding from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund, a grants programme managed by Somerset Community Foundation, in a new and innovative way to ensure communities were still able to connect - even when they couldn’t be together.
“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many concerts, festivals and other events that bring people together have been cancelled or rescheduled. However, we’re doing our best to adapt our activities to the current situation.
“The event was made possible thanks to the support of Somerset Film, Hidden Voices, Diversity Voice, Bridgwater Town Council and the unions TUC and UNITE, as well as part of a grant for £170,747, which is being awarded to CCS over three years from the HPC Community Fund, for which we are very grateful.
Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are delighted that despite the difficult circumstances, organisations and projects funded by the HPC Community Fund such as Somerset Diverse Communities are able to continue to build connections in Bridgwater and beyond, through inventive and creative ways such as this.”
Jinny Uppington from CCS agreed: “It went brilliantly on Saturday night! Michal did an amazing job and managed to capture a real sense of community spirit, even online. In these current times we need to find different ways of coming together and this event really achieved that.”