After months of hard work thousands of people filled Gravesend Town Centre to enjoy a Christmas inspired celebration.

Cohesion Plus working in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Gravesham Borough Council supported by Arts Council England organised the Gravesham Festival of Christmas Light element of the Gravesham Christmas Lights Switch on. This featured 12 local schools and a parade of over 1200 people from across the borough. They were accompanied by Christmas Mime Elves, Santa and his helpers on stilts, Bloco Fogo Samba, Crocodile Brass Band, the Black Knights and the Four by Four Dhol Drummers.

In the build up to the event some 550 young people from across the borough benefited from free creative arts workshops working with Same Sky Arts on the Christmas Lanterns. The schools who took part in the celebrations were Ifield, Kings Farm, St Botolph’s, St Johns Primary, St George’s, Northfleet Girls, Holy Trinity, Cecil Road, Riverview Infants, Riverview Juniors, Northfleet Technology College and Painters Ash

The parade led by the Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Greta Goatley started off from the St George’s Shopping Centre and went through New Road, up Windmill Street and culminated on Community Square where the Christmas Tree was switched on following performances by the Gravesham Pantomime Cast of Jack and the Beanstalk.

Gurvinder Sandher the CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council said “I am really pleased with how the celebrations went. The event was a great spectacle and an example of how the arts can be used to promote cohesion and bringing diverse communities together. I strongly believe that Christmas should be celebrated widely and should be used like we have done with this event as a way of celebrating our positive community relations.”