Croydon’s London Road was in the party spirit on Sunday as the Carnival of Cultures took place. The event, which launched as a response to the 2011 London riots, saw a celebration of local businesses, community groups and diverse cultures.
The Carnival of Cultures showcased Russian and Indian dancers, an opera singer and a rapper. The festival saw a great turnout from the community both old and young and plans have begun for its comeback next year.
Jennifer Coleen Speid, Chairwoman of the event, said: “The carnival wasn’t just a celebration of Croydon’s talents; it was also about discussing employment in the area. It’s about business owners and training providers talking about jobs, apprenticeships, training and business start-ups. This is something I do too, provide training and courses for people.”
John Burton, Director of Development for Westfield, and a strong supporter of the opportunities such events offer, said: “This is a fantastic family event which celebrates the talent, diversity and community spirit of West Croydon.”
Speid was keen to talk about a bright future for Croydon as she sees it becoming as desirable as the West End. She is highly anticipating the job opportunities soon to arrive in the area due to sponsorship this year from Hammerson and Westfield, the partnership responsible for the £1bn retail agreement to redevelop Croydon’s town centre.
Speid added: “Croydon is a very diverse community and there are pockets of affluent parts and some more challenging areas in need of more support. However, I think the way the community is coming together will show the potential the borough has to offer its propensity to be very vibrant.”
The transformation will bring about a 1.5m ft² state-of-the-art retail, leisure and restaurant destination, together with new public realm, creating 5,000 new jobs, new car parking and up to 600 new residential units including affordable housing.