More than 50 people took part in a litter pick and lunch in Ramsgate yesterday (September 8).
Organised by the Believe in Thanet group the aim was to bring together members of the community of every denomination.
Organiser Raushan Ara said: “The Believe in Thanet Litter Pick and meal at the Salvation Army was a huge success, bringing together members of our diverse community who want to do something positive for their area and reach out to others in the community to build strong community links.
“As well as improving Ramsgate town centre, people shared ideas, beliefs and knowledge cultural festivals with those they would not usually interact with.
“This brought about a vital sharing of ideas on how to respond to the upcoming Britain First protest which is due to take place on October 14. Britain First seeks to tear the fabric of our community by spreading fear, hate and division. Believe in Thanet wants to use our strong community links to promote peaceful opposition to their aims.
“A special thanks to Carl Whitehead from the Salvation Army and town promoter Rebekah Smith for their support, which made the event possible.”
Rebekah said: “The Believe in Thanet litter pick and lunch, organised by Raushan from Ramsgate Tandoori, was a great success which saw people from many different backgrounds coming together as a community to make our town look a little more loved.
“ It was a pleasure to meet and eat with the group and get to know some new people working hard for our community.
“Thanks also to Ramsgate Town Council for the loan of litter pickers, Ramsgate Society for the high viz jackets and for the new store in Westwood Cross, Bunning’s, who supplied 45 pairs of gloves free of charge.”
Rabbi Cliff, who was one of those taking part, added: “ I learned just how much litter there is here. Cigarette butts are everywhere, bottles and paper bags are deposited in quiet corners and food wrapping is left on the ground, even in what compared to many others is a relatively tidy town
“I also learned that if you pick up litter, some very interesting people come and talk to you. Most are encouraging and friendly, but some see it as an opportunity to rant about immigrants or welfare scroungers, despite a total lack of evidence or facts.
“Most importantly, I learned that it is actually fun. Strangely, the cheerful enthusiasm with which we sat through a safety talk and set to work in the streets provided the basis for a most enjoyable morning. The variety of food that we shared over lunch and the brief inputs from members of different faiths added to what was already a very pleasant experience, and there were many smiles as we went our separate ways.”
Salvation Army Lieutenant Carl Whitehead added: “We at the Salvation Army are thrilled to be part of “Believe in Thanet” and learn how to grow in greater understanding, respect and love for each other. Members of our church can choose to wear a uniform that declares our faith. One thing we are reminded every time we put the uniform on is that it has the letter “s” on each lapel – the challenge that as followers of Jesus we are Saved to serve. The co-founder of the Salvation Army said many times that no one can know the love of God if they have cold feet and an empty stomach. It is often necessary to meet practical needs before God’s love can be known.
“And as believers we are challenged to do what we can to show God’s love in practical, tangible ways. As we have gathered litter together we have made a small part of Ramsgate a little brighter – a little easier for people to see that God’s creation is great – and how much He loves us.”