‘No place in Preston for racism or hatred’

LEP  19-03-16 Members of the community try out salsa dancing at the third annual Preston Standing Together Against Racism community day, held at Preston Flag Market earlier this year .

LEP 19-03-16 Members of the community try out salsa dancing at the third annual Preston Standing Together Against Racism community day, held at Preston Flag Market earlier this year .

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A community meal and music event is to take place in the centre of Preston to celebrate cultural diversity, following concerns about racist incidents since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Feast for Peace is to take place on the Flag Market on July 23, and organisers say: “If people can eat together, they can live together.”

Kay Johnson, director of the Larder (Lancashire and Region Dietary Education Resource), is organising the event to celebrate diversity.

She said: “It’s celebrating food and music from around the world, and people coming together. We just want to get everybody from all different cultures and community groups in Preston eating together, a big huge meal, listening to music, and getting together.”

The event, which will include a team of chefs cooking food that would otherwise have gone to waste, will be free, with donations encouraged.

Speaking at the latest full council meeting, Mayor of Preston Coun John Collins, said: “Here in our city, we are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.

“On behalf of the council, I wish to say we condemn, utterly, racism, xenophobia and hate crimes, and we will not allow hate to become acceptable in Preston.”

Coun Javed Iqbal, who represents St Matthew’s ward, had a board in his garden showing his support for remaining in the EU, and said tyres of his car had been slashed.

He said: “I think that was a direct reaction possibly to do with the board, not to do with my race or religion.”

To be involved in Feast for Peace, email Kay at foodwisetraining@yahoo.co.uk

• Lancashire police has asked residents to report all hate crime and hate incidents to police, after a national rise in reported offences.

Officers said, while Lancashire Police had not seen an increase in reported incidents, they were concerned victims had experienced abuse and were not reporting crimes.

The call comes a few days after a passenger filmed youths racially abusing a man on a tram in Manchester.