Crowds celebrate multicultural Kensington at JJ Holland Park

JJ Holland Park was once again alive with Festival fun and footy as the community enjoyed another fabulous Kensington CommUNITY Festival on Sunday 20 March in glorious sunshine.

Festival organiser Deb Wilson, Community Engagement Manager with Urban Communities was delighted with the whole day.  “What another great fun filled Festival. Each year it gets bigger and better. The Kensington community look forward to this family event when our diverse community comes together and celebrates.”

Urban Communities manages the mixed tenure redevelopment of the former Kensington Public Housing Estate and has coordinated the Festival for its nine years. The Festival started life as a small event originally initiated by the Kensington public housing tenants as part of the State Government’s Housing Week. The purpose of the Festival has always been to celebrate, engage and showcase the local community with activities that foster a spirit of togetherness, fun, wellbeing, inclusiveness and cultural exchange. And the Festival has achieved this in spades!

This year the crowds enjoyed live world music, kids activities, roving performers, come and try workshops, community stalls, halal treasure hunt at The Venny, food from all corners of the globe and the AFL touch 9s Unity Cup competition..

A new addition this year was the Kensington Sustainable Living Expo. Expo stalls provided inforrmation on backyard chickens, edible home gardens, worm farming, Kensington Garden Honey and the local herb share program.  Pop-up workshops were held around the themes Food, Water, Waste and Energy and Festival goers made smoothies on a two pedal powered smoothie bike.

Community and local business stalls were an integral part of the day with interactive activities such as henna hand painting, Somali tea tasting, badge making, pot planting and paper lantern making. The Child Activity Passport was a hit again this year with the lucky winners drawn throughout the day.

This year event partners the Australian Federal Police and AFL Victoria’s Multicultural Program together with football clubs Western Bulldogs, Essendon, Hawthorn, North Melbourne and St Kilda brought together 26 male and female youth AFL9s touch football teams from culturally diverse communities to compete for the coveted Unity Cup. This year’s honours went to Division 1 – Australian Islamic Youth Centre, Division 2 – the Bharat Bombers and the Jew Crew won the Female Division.

Ms Wilson said the day wouldn’t have been possible without the generous financial and in kind support from all participating community agencies, business and corporate sponsors. She thanked major financial sponsors City of Melbourne, Victorian Multicultural Commission, React Property Maintenance, Tormax Australia, Spectrum Fire and Security and Urban Communities. She also thanked community business and agency partners in particular the Kensington Neighbourhood House, MSS Security, cohealth, the Venny, Kensington Community Children’s Cooperative, Kensington Community Recreation Centre, Melbourne Community Toy Library, Salvation Army, Somali Women’s Development Association, Victoria Police, Hotham Mission, EnviroCom, Newton’s Pharmacy, the Australian Federal Police and AFL Victoria Multicultural Program.