A SIX-YEAR-OLD festival will be back this year with a 'healing' theme, and it will be 'bigger than ever before'.

The organisers say that Cumbria Unity Festival is back - bigger than ever before, supporting and encouraging local people and communities in ‘Healing Together’.

The very first Cumbria Unity Festival was held in Carlisle in 2016, hosted by AWAZ Cumbria and supported by a wide range of statutory and third sector organisations.

Over the next three years, the festival grew and reached a pinnacle in 2019, when it won the Diversity Award of the year, before it had to be moved online in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid pandemic.

But this summer, the festival is back.

The Cumbria Unity Festival consists of four individual festivals, held in Barrow, Carlisle, Kendal and - for the first time ever this year - West Cumbria.

Each Unity Festival provides a unique space and welcomes people of all communities and backgrounds to meet, converse, learn, have fun, explore new ideas, find understanding, and build connections with each other.

Local Unity Festivals are open to everyone and are free to visit in: June 18 – Kendal; July 2 Whitehaven; July 2 Barrow town centre; July 9-10 – Barrow at the Coast Road Festival; July 16 – Carlisle.

There will be something of interest to everyone; from poetry, music, singing lessons and dancing, to training session to become better allies when witnessing hostility and harassment towards minoritised groups.

Guy Tirvengadum, Chair of AWAZ Cumbria, said: "I chose the theme of diversity during my Mayoral year in 2018/19 and we worked together to deliver the first Kendal Unity Festival in June 2018 which went on to win the Diversity event of the year at the Diverse Cumbria awards.

"From its inception in Carlisle in 2016 I am so pleased to see how the Unity Festival has now grown into a Cumbria wide event and each Festival has its own variety of events and activities with the aim of connecting communities and improving the lives of people living, working and visiting Cumbria from all backgrounds."