I am delighted to provide a testimonial in support of Multicultural Carlisle ( MCC ) and the bid to expand County wide. My experience of MCC dates back to my time as Principal of Carlisle College, a position I retired from 2 years ago. As a College we were looking for new and innovative ways to help our students to have a better understanding and appreciation of multicultural diversity and richness. The involvement of MCC was to be transformation for the College`s strategy to promote diversity and prepare our students for adult life in the world of work locally and beyond, or for further study at University.  To me, the success of MCC can be attributed to a number of factors. 

Firstly, the leadership and passion of the founder , Saj Ghafoor, is, and has been, inspirational to all of us who have worked with her, though she still manages to come across as just a local person doing her best for her family , her business and her neighbours.  Another aspect of MCC`s success is making things relevant to the setting. For example, in the case of the College the food fair during freshers week was a great success with new students  learning about, (and tasting !) new foods that they had never experienced before. This was particularly beneficial for our catering students many of whom go on to work in the Lake District and beyond.

The partnership with MCC saw many such activities over the years including a wonderful event involving hair and beauty students together with art students in a fashion show of  multicultural costumes and face art/make up that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.  In educational terms the combination  of enjoyable, relevant activities for our students underpinned by real research and learning made possible with the help of MCC was invaluable. As the College draws students from a wide geographical area , including a rural hinterland, multicultural experiences were an essential element of a rounded education. Our staff too benefited from having to learn about new cultures in order to support their students.

This experience in the College has been replicated and enhanced for the wider community of Carlisle in the Culture Bazaar which has become a fun learning event that has engaged  people from all backgrounds and all ages. It has also  been a means of forging new partnerships with groups which share a common agenda to foster community cohesion . I wholeheartedly support the bid for expansion of such a successful and vibrant initiative on a County wide basis.

Principal of Carlisle College 2004 – 2016