North East Wales

Portuguese Fado festival celebrates diversity in Wrexham

Wrexham sign and Portuguese

A folk music festival aimed at promoting community cohesion among people from different nationalities is being held in Wrexham on Saturday.

The Portuguese Fado event encourages integration between the different communities in the town and celebrates Portuguese culture.

There are an estimated 2,000 Portuguese nationals in Wrexham.

Last month, Wrexham council signed a formal agreement with the Portuguese government to build ties.

The festival, which has been given Big Lottery funding, is being organised by Iolanda Viegas who moved to Wrexham from Portugal 15 years ago.

"The main aim is integration," Ms Viegas, a representative of the Portuguese Council of Great Britain, said.

"We try for the Portuguese community to engage in the local community.

"It's by going to these events that we realise we are all the same.

"It's just one big community," said Ms Viegas who is also a representative on the Race Council Cymru and is director of the Portuguese Speaking Community Group in Wrexham.

'Collaboration'

Wrexham council has been working to develop close relationships across its diverse communities since 2008 when it launched its Together in Wrexham strategy.

Earlier this month, it signed a friendship agreement with the Portuguese government, reinforcing principles of "integration and collaboration", according to Councillor Hugh Jones, Wrexham's lead member for communities.

"We readily agreed and we saw that as recognition that out community cohesion team has a really successful link with the Portuguese community.

"We'd more than welcome similar protocols, if the Polish community came forward, we'd look at that in a favourable way."

In spite of the work being done by community leaders, the local authority and the police, there were some hate crime incidents in Wrexham in the aftermath of the EU referendum result.

Mr Jones said he felt confident such issues had now died down.

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