THE first annual Diversity Ball of its type in the UK is being planned for Chester.

The event will be held in all the areas of Chester Cathedral in the evening of May 22, 2020, with a potential attendance of 1,400 guests.

The ball will be inclusive and reach out and welcome all communities of Chester; ethnic, religious, ability/disability, LGBTQ+ etc. It will celebrate differences as equals.

The Chester Diversity Ball will include a diversity fashion show, singing in sign language, orchestras, bands, DJs and will create a culture of diversity.

Organiser Joel Josephson said: "In an exciting evening, we will set a new standard for the openness of our society, for tolerance, inclusiveness, accessibility and mutual respect.

"We are designing the ball to be as inclusive as possible so we can welcome all sectors of the community and will structure ticket prices to be affordable for all.

"We also plan to ask sponsors to donate additional tickets that will be given by local community support associations to members of their communities that would otherwise find it difficult to come to the ball including wheelchair users, learning difficulties, refugees, unwaged etc.

"Finally, surplus from the ball will be distributed to community organisations in Chester and Cheshire West that align with the diversity ball's grants policy."

The ball has been in planning for two years. Initially the idea was introduced to local groups at meetings; groups included representatives of ethnic and religious groups, disabled associations, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the University of Chester and the police.

This reaching out led to the involvement and support of most of the sectors of the Chester community, including the council, past and present Lord Mayors, City of Chester MP Chris Matheson, the office of the Duke of Westminster, the University of Chester, Chester Cathedral, West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce, Chester Roundtable and representatives of local political parties.

In addition, support groups for disadvantaged communities have got involved at various levels including PHAB, the Deeside sign choir, Chester Volunteers and Chester Pride.

Sponsors and offers of help are now being sought to make the inaugural Chester Diversity Ball a success. Volunteers are needed to help organise the event, including helpers on the night, plus models for the Diversity Fashion Show.

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