We are pleased to introduce the partner organisations we will be working with as part of our Engaging Diverse Communities brief this summer. All four organisations will be working with communities across Medway and exploring what culture is and where it can be found in Medway – the stories we want to tell about ourselves and our local area and how cultural events and activities in Medway can be more inclusive.

Our partners will be talking to communities through individual calls, social media groups, socially distanced events and online meeting technologies. The work will take place in multiple languages, including British Sign Language, and the conversations will feed into the development of the themes and approach for Medway’s Cultural Strategy and 2025 UK City of Culture bid.

Medway Diversity Forum
Medway Diversity Forum represents 28 diverse community groups in Medway belonging to 15 ethnicities and speaking 22 languages. They promote social inclusion and offer support to minority ethnic communities to reduce health inequalities, prevent social isolation, increase access to local opportunities and integration. They run events, workshops, festivals, seminars, training and advisory sessions designed to empower, improve skills and develop confidence and will be working with Asian and Eastern European communities as part of the consultation brief.

Youth Engage
Youth Engage works across Medway, Gravesham and Dartford to make connections between young people and those in authority, creating mentoring and talent development opportunities and activities to reduce anti-social behaviour and raise aspirations. Youth Engage will be working with young Black people aged 11-21.

Christopher Sacre
Christopher is a visual artist, art facilitator and Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) signer who lives and works in Medway. He cofounded the MESS ROOM which hosts inclusive, artist-led projects in partnership with local communities at Sun Pier House in Chatham offering unforgettable art experiences for all including blind, partially-sighted, d/Deaf and hearing impaired people of all ages, interests and abilities. Christopher will be working with d/Deaf BSL signers across the local area.

bemix support people with learning difficulties and/or autism to speak up, make choices, become powerful and influential and to become more independent in learning, housing, work, health, money, travel, leisure and relationships. Their work encompasses supported internships, advocacy, courses, group and individual support and learning disability awareness workshops with schools. bemix will be working with local young people with learning difficulties and/or autism.

There are still other ways to have your say as part of the Medway Cultural Strategy. Please help us by continuing to share the link to the documents http://medwayculturalstrategy.co.uk/interim-consultation/ and to our feedback form https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Medway2020/ as widely as possible through your networks. We want to make sure the next ten years of culture in Medway is shaped and is of benefit to as many of Medway’s residents and workers as possible.

Alternatively, if you are part of a neighbourhood or community group, run a charity service, a club or a get-together and are interested in hosting a group conversation, please do get in touch with Imogen by email at cityofculture@medway2025.co.uk or call 07773194583.