CAPTION: Jabo Butera from DBI and Chris Forster from Transforming Plymouth Together preparing 'hampers' to deliver across Plymouth

Swapping Cream Teas and Cricket for Footie and Fried Rice

Posted: 19th June, 2020

A pilot project in Plymouth aims to unify communities from different cultural backgrounds by sharing recipes, sport and life experiences.

Food hampers and sports sets have been delivered across the city as part of the Unifying Plymouth initiative.

Families received the ingredients to cook a traditional Nigerian meal

Nigerian meal kits have been given to 25, mainly white, British families. They contain all the ingredients needed to make Dafa Duka (Nigerian Fried Rice), a recipe card and a magazine about Nigeria’s national sport, football.

“If this pilot is successful, we’re hoping to reach hundreds of families in different ways.”

The families were also given a link to a video made by two Nigerian women living in Plymouth about their lives.

In return, hampers containing the ingredients to make a traditional Devon Cream Tea have been given to 25 migrant families along with a recipe card. They have also been given a guide to cricket and a cricket set.

Unifying Plymouth is being run by Transforming Plymouth Together (which is funded by the Diocese of Exeter and the Church Urban Fun) alongside Plymouth Hope, Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, Plymouth Octopus Project, the RAS network, DBI (Diversity Business Indicator, Plymouth)  and Plymouth City Council.

Helping to cook Nigerian Fried Rice

In 2017/18, there was a 21% increase in hate crime in Plymouth and previous analysis of hate crime offences in the city showed that 75% were catagorised as racism, with the majority involving abuse, threats, harassment or violence.

In 2018, the Plymouth City Survey found that just 39% of respondents agreed that their local area was a place where people from different backgrounds got on well together.

Hannah Fleming-Hill, a member of St Judes Church in Plymouth and a  Project Support Development Worker at Transforming Plymouth Together, said: “We got involved with this pilot project because we want to bring all communities in Plymouth together.

“We also noticed that among the churches we work with to run the school holiday Feast of Fun events, there’s not a massive diversity in ethnicity.”

“If this works we can try and introduce other cultures and nationalities.”

Families who came to the UK from abroad were given a hamper with a cricket kit and ingredients to make a Devon cream tea

Dwain Morgan, Assistant Community Manager for Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, said, “Argyle Community Trust are thrilled to be a part of such an exciting and educational project.

“To be involved in this collaboration that helps local communities learn about culture through the sharing of food, sport, faith and a whole host of other things is extremely rewarding.”

Chris Forster, the Transforming Plymouth Together project manager, said, “There is lots of talk about how to improve ethnic diversity in Plymouth.

“We thought it was time to stop talking about it and just do something.”

He said the reaction of families who had received hampers so far was a mix of surprised, shocked, excited and grateful.

He said some of the British families had loved trying the Nigerian recipe.

The Unifying Plymouth team hope this is just the beginning of the project and are planning to develop it further.

Hannah Fleming-Hill said “If this pilot is successful, we’re hoping to reach hundreds of families in different ways.

“Plymouth is so diverse, with so many different ethnic groups, you could you go on forever.”