Carlisle Unity Festival

Connecting Communities - Celebrating Diversity 

Saturday 8th July 2017, Carlisle City Centre

Carlisle Unity Festival is one of the key annual events for all communities in Carlisle and the surrounding area. Building on the success of the first Carlisle Unity Festival which took place in August 2016, the Festival builds unity, promotes integration, fosters good relations and celebrates all that we have in common as residents of a diverse and vibrant city.

Based in the city centre on the day,  the Festival brings together a range of community groups, public and private sector organisations. Working together they share their knowledge and information with the general public in an informal, fun and welcoming environment. 

AWAZ Cumbria, Carlisle One World Centre, Op Shops and other partners invite you to take part in the Carlisle Unity Festival on Saturday 8th July 2017 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

This year Festival is supported by Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, ASDA Foundation, Cumbria Community Foundation and CN Fund and UNISON

The main programme will take place between 10 am and 4 pm on Saturday 8th July 2017 in the City Centre and Old Town Hall with complimentary world music acts and entertainment taking place in the nearby Old Fire Station and other city centre venues in the evening.  

This year more than 20 organisations and groups representing activities in the community, along with cultural or national groups and statutory organisations will have the information stand under gazebos, with workshops taking place in a marquee, in the city centre.

Members of the public will be invited to attend short taster 'feel good' workshops and they will also have a chance to learn more about some of the groups taking part, listen to poetry and music.

There will be a raffle with tickets on sale for 50p each and that prizes will include Virgin train tickets and restaurant and cafe vouchers. 

There will also be a Global Coffee Morning and all day workshops, short film screenings information sessions at the Old Town Hall, with performances from local folk and musicians and dancers from diverse communities and cultures. 

In the evening the Old Fire Station is hosting a show to close the Carlisle Unity Festival. Featuring My Little Brother & The Black Guards. Doors open 7 pm Show starts 8 pm. Tickets £7

Available from OFS, Carlisle Old Town Hall & Online

The Carlisle Unity Festival is free of charge public event appealing to all ages and abilities, promoting the message of Unity during these times of uncertainty about the future of our country following the EU Referendum and other recent events.

The Festival builds on the community resilience and unity demonstrated in Carlisle and the surrounding areas following the December 2015 floods.

The key benefit from the event would support the work towards fostering good relations that are tackling prejudice and promoting understanding by celebrating the diversity of people and cultures in Carlisle. The festival will encourage active citizenship and greater participation and inclusion through community action and engagement in a wide range of activities. 

There will be a particular focus on empowering the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and other marginalised groups living in Carlisle and some of their activities will be highlighted through information stalls, workshops and performances.

The outcomes will include the following:

- Greater awareness and understanding of the issues affecting minority or marginalised groups

- Increased confidence and trust within participant groups to work more collaboratively for achievement of shared objectives

- Promotion of Carlisle as a welcoming place for all who want to live, work, study, visit or conduct business in the city.



The idea of the original Unity Festival came from a group of local people who had attended a similar event in Newcastle in 2015. A committee was set up who's membership consisted half of members of the community and half from local charities, including AWAZ Cumbria - a community development organisation which directly work with and empower the voices of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) people and communities  in Cumbria, Carlisle One World Centre and the Carlisle Op Shops, a group of charity shops who support many people with low self-esteem and poor mental health. This committee designed and ran the 2016 festival in a short time frame of four months. AWAZ Cumbria has provided the management support and lead accountable body role for the Festival. The day was a great success, reaching out to over 500 local people, both passers-by and those who came specifically to workshops and other items on the programme. The same committee met twice to reflect on and evaluate the day, taking on board the feedback (both verbal and on social media) from members of the public and has re-formed with two additional members from the organisations who took part in the Festival and organising the Festival in 2017. We are hoping to expand our membership further to include more young people and community members and we will carry out consultations with the general public on the content of the 2018 Festival and beyond through questionnaires, polls and consultations at wider meetings we attend.

We are working closely in partnership with Carlisle City Council in the planning and delivery of the event and seeking further support and partnership from wider voluntary, public and private sector organisations. 

Carlisle Unity Festival