Hundreds of people took to the streets yesterday for the third annual Darnall Lantern Parade.
The parade, which started at High Hazels Academy and followed a short route onto Staniforth Road and Main Road, was an “important” opportunity to bring together Darnall’s diverse community.
Parents joined their children in carrying the lanterns they made in workshops and classes, and prizes were presented to the three best. The crowd were in high spirits and enjoyed performances from a samba band, juggler, Romani dance group and local choir.
Mahara Haque, parade organiser and Community Development Worker in Darnall, said: “I think there [was] a lot more multiculturalism this year, and that was the remit that I had, to actually try and bring a diverse bunch of people.”
“It’s very important as a tool for community development. The police originally started this off as a way to deal with anti-social behaviour and criminal disorder by providing diversion activities, so it focuses around the schools, the community groups, the police and everybody gets involved.”
“The police have stated that it helps reduce anti-social behaviour, it’s done so well that they’re actually modelling the Lantern Parade on youth prevision in Sharrow. So as well as the Lantern Parade, we have youth services open in Darnall and Tinsley, and this attracts the young lads who are possibly the ones who would go out and shoot fireworks, and they’ve seen a marked reduction in anti-social behaviour.”
Greg Carruthers, a teacher at High Hazels Academy, said: “It’s a lovely celebration of the community, it’s always lovely to do it this time of year. I’ve been here for the last two years, and I think it’s a really important to give back to the community and get everyone together, especially this time of year as well when people aren’t feeling the most safe in their homes because of all the fireworks going off.”
“I think that this is great for what was a buzz word a few years ago, what they call “community cohesion” which is the idea of getting events that are non-specific, that everyone can come to, that are family friendly and that the schools can provide for the community and especially nowadays the welfare state doesn’t do things like that for us anymore.”
“It’s important that we still find time to do things like this and we still find time as a community to come together and go above and beyond what’s just the normal requirements.”