Encouraging Cultural Exchanges in Galleywood

Monday Jul 03, 2023

Our Youth Board, based within the Essex Young Assembly, has held a cultural exchange event that perfectly encapsulated Co-op’s values surrounding equality, diversity, and mutual co-operation – and all within Co-op Fortnight too.

The Cultural Day saw community groups across Galleywood gather to exchange ideas, food, dance, music and traditions. Represented was Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, Albania, Greece, China, the Carribean, Pakistan, India, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Ireland.

Activities included a henna artist, an opera singer, a mural of hands, guess the flag, a powerful spoken word piece on injustice, facts and myths, dance lessons, and a presentation on the differences between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation.



Then of course came the food! Ingredients had been donated by our Danbury Co-op store, which has a large selection of world food ingredients. These had been used to create a huge selection of dishes, from pastries to stews, each representing a different culture. Dolma from Turkey, Jerk Chicken from the Caribbean, samosas, scones, pasta, stuffed vine leaves, spring rolls… Our Head of Membership & Marketing was there to donate the ingredients AND to distribute the final dishes. He said, “This has been a wonderful day, full of joy and discovery. No tensions or prejudices. The food has been outstanding. My new favourite discoveries are the stuffed vine leaves and the Pakistani sweets! 

“The Youth Board, and the wider Young Essex Assembly, should be very proud of what they’ve achieved here today, and I hope it will become an annual event. The world could do with more mutually-appreciative events like it!”