Thursday, 9 January 2014

Manchester's Moss Side Carnival in Turmoil

PRESS RELEASE - Concerns grow over Caribbean Carnival of Manchester announcement that the carnival will not be hosted in Alexander Park again this year. 

Manchester’s African Caribbean Community are up in arms after it was announced the annual Moss Side carnival will be moved to Platt fields Park, Fallowfield for the 2nd year running and reduced in scale through lack of funding despite promises by the committee that the move would only be for one year while Alexandra Park was refurbished. Moves are now afoot to oust committee members believed to be responsible for failing to secure Alexandra Park and funding from the arts council.
The AGM to be held on Tuesday 14th January at 6.30 at the Phil Martin Centre promises to be a very lively affair with the community seeking answers to why carnival, the heartbeat of the Caribbean community, has been transplanted elsewhere.   It is feared this could be a drain on the spirit and the economic life blood of an already disadvantaged area pushing even more economic activity towards the more affluent Wilmslow Road. The delights and spectacle of Caribbean carnival has its roots firmly fixed in Manchester’s African Caribbean Community and has been taking place in Alexandra Park for over 40 years.
The community are voicing concerns that they are not at all pleased with the whole affair of how the issue of the park has been handled and communicated. Many locals were not aware of the move and missed the carnival. There have been calls that a new management team is needed who can give assurances that the carnival will return to Alexander Park as soon as the refurbishment is complete as confidence has been lost in the current Chair.
Akeim Mundell, recently made young ambassador, who has put his name forward to become a member of the Carnival committee, said  ‘last year we were given assurances that the change of venue would only be for one year but it seems that is not the case. It is important that the carnival returns to Alex Park as the carnival is an asset which goes towards a sense of ownership for the community and it is definitely a time where we all come together to celebrate’.
Colette Williams, community activist, says that concerns over the carnival are not just restricted to the issue of location. The carnival was tremendously scaled down last year. This is a clear indication that something is not quite right about how the carnival is being run and we need a new management team to rectify this and get on a course to ensure that Manchester returns to hosting carnivals on the scale which took place when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games.
Jeff McDonald who is putting himself forward as the new chair said, ‘Carnival has always been very important to the community as it allows for the retaining of culture and allows for the link to remain between the generations. Furthermore, it is imperative that we pass onto our future generations’ skills and a legacy. Carnival is the ideal mechanism to realise the potential of young people and they should be given every opportunity to develop their initiatives and involvement. This can only be achieved if the committee have a clear plan and implement such aspects as skills development, promotions, trading and job creation’.
Jeff concludes by saying Manchester is a vibrant city, some would say the UKs second city, and our carnival should reflect that status.

Colette Williams                     07984 359 894

Jeff McDonald                                       07708 072 000