New Indian association aims to reach more families...

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 August 2014 | UPDATED: 08:52 01 September 2014

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CELEBRATIONS of an ancient Indian festival will take place during the launch of a new culture group to help integrate families into Weston.

The Weston-super-Mare Association of Malayalees (WAM) was formed by a number of families and individuals from Kerala, southern India.

The families, who had moved from that area to the seaside resort, came together to take part in activities and language classes to help them become part of the community.

The club took off and after members came up with the idea of making the group an official association.

WAM member Gromico Joseph, who also moved from Kerala to Albert Road, Weston, said: “We do a lot of charity work with Age UK in the community and we aim to promote cultural activities.

“We also want children to integrate well in schools if they are new to the area. But some are brought up here and speak English and when their grandparents come over, who only speak Malayalam, they want to be able to communicate so we have set up classes for this language as well as English ones.

“We also work together and raise money for people who are in emergency situations.”

To celebrate the group becoming an official association a welcome day and festival will be held today at Kewstoke village hall in Crookes Lane.

MP John Penrose, Weston Mayor Ros Willis and chairman of North Somerset Council David Hitchins have been invited to the event, which will include information on the team, lunch and activities based around the Indian harvest festival Onam.

Onam is the biggest festival in Kerala with a mythological background and usually runs for four days.

Traditional food, dance and music will take over the village hall until 5pm, after the welcome for the association which will start from 10.30am.

Gromico, who works as a physiotherapist around North Somerset, said: “We have about 192 members, including children, registered with the association but we want to reach out to more families.”

Cllr David Hitchins added: “I think these groups bring a lot of diversity to the area and it is a great way to get people immersed and involved in the community.

“I think it will benefit a lot of families who may not know much about the town or be able to speak a lot of English and it gives them a chance to meet more people.”

If you are interested in becoming part of WAM contact Gromico on 07915 652793.

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