A special community event took place at the Castle Hill Community Centre in Ebbsfleet on October 12th as part of the Dartford wide programme for Black History Month produced by Cohesion Plus, Dartford Borough Council and Kent Equality Cohesion Council.

The theme of the event was to showcase local Black Business owned by women, reflecting the national theme of Black History Month 2023 of Celebrating our Sisters.

After a violin performance by Yohanne Osafo the event was opened by Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL and Elliese Bramble from Cohesion Plus. The two welcomed everyone and spoke about the importance of these events as well as reflecting on the National Black History Month theme, Celebrating Our Sisters. They were followed by the Leader of Dartford Borough Council Cllr Jeremy Kite MBE who spoke about the work that the local authority is doing to bring communities together and celebrate together as one community. He stressed the importance of Black History Month and the need to celebrate the positive contribution made by communities with links to the Caribbean and Africa over many years to the UK.

he key note speaker Alexandra Bode-Tunji Chief Strategy and Transformation officer from the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, who spoke about the positive contribution made by Doctors and Nurses with links to the Caribbean and Africa to the NHS, which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. She also spoke about the health inequalities that exist in the area and her desire to forge a closer working relationship between the NHS Trust and the local community.

A number of local residents then shared information on some of their respective businesses and activities that they run in the areas. These included Yoshina Bhopal who delivers Bollywood inspired fitness sessions, Dela Oresanwo and Rebecca Ajwole who both set up micro catering businesses during lockdown and were supplying the food for the evening.

Other business highlighted at the event included Eden Health who showcased their work around healthy living and the Afro-Caribbean Grocery which delivers traditional foods to the local community. There was also a demonstration from Tanya at TMG Business who got everyone up and working hard with a special boxercise class.

The event climaxed with a performance by Folkin Fusion who brought together the Djembe Drum from Southern Africa and the Dhol drum from Northern India.

Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL, CEO commented “It was great to hold this event in Ebbsfleet. I am proud that our Black History Month programme is going around Dartford and engaging with different communities and sectors. It was great to hear about the local businesses running locally and how they have had to overcome early challenges especially the lockdowns and the economic uncertainty to get to where they are now.”