CANON BOB WHITE: Let’s focus on what unites us

The new Kingston Recreation Ground, Fratton
The new Kingston Recreation Ground, Fratton

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The vicar of St Mary’s Church, Fratton on the upcoming Great Get Together

On Sunday in Fratton you may hear the sound of a samba band parading through the streets – well, Clive Road to be exact.

If you follow that sound, you will find yourself at a celebration in Kingston Recreation Ground, at the end of St Mary’s Road. What are we celebrating?

The simple answer is the completion of the work on the new play area that has been developed there.

Fratton Big Local, which I chair, in partnership with Portsmouth City Council and others, has been working with the community over the past few years to create this amazing space, with funding from the Local Trust, Veolia and others.

It has been open for a few weeks and has been enjoyed and valued by children and their families from across the community. Sunday gives us all a chance to say ‘thank-you’ to those who have raised the funds, designed and constructed the equipment and to celebrate together as a community.

But Sunday is about more than celebrating that piece of work – it also about celebrating what that project represents and reflects.

Across the country communities are encouraged this weekend to Get Together and share a picnic or a meal or an event.

The Get Together campaign is inspired by Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered in the run-up to the General Election campaign two years ago.

It encourages people to discover who is in their community and what unites them, rather than focusing on the barriers of fear or mistrust that we can often set up between ourselves and those we do not know.

Jo Cox’s maiden speech in parliament included the following ‘We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’

The Great Get Together weekend encourages all of us to meet those we do not usually meet and to discover what we have in common.

The Kingston Rec play area shows what can happen when people come together and work together for the common good. You are very welcome to join us in celebrating and marking the Great Get Together – the parade is at 12.15pm from Fratton Community Centre – or perhaps you could find something in your community and join in discovering what unites us.

St Mary’s Church is in Fratton Road, Fratton.

Go to portseaparish.co.uk.