Community and faith leaders, and political and business leaders from across Bolton, have joined together to launch the ‘One Bolton’ pledge.
It is a commitment to celebrate community cohesion, while recognising diversity.
The pledge also offers people an alternative means to demonstrate their commitment to Bolton as a welcoming and tolerant town, in response to a planned demonstration in Bolton town centre by the English Defence League.
The launch of the pledge follows the first ever One Bolton Festival, which was launched in 2009 and will run again this year. The One Bolton festival celebrates all that's great about Bolton, and encourages people from all different backgrounds, beliefs and values to get together to enjoy events and cultural activities.
As a next step, faith group leaders, community leaders, political leaders, business leaders and the local community have agreed to sign a pledge and make a commitment to the concept of One Bolton.
The One Bolton pledge says: “We celebrate the diversity of Bolton and unite to create One Bolton, recognising differences, celebrating communities and commit to encouraging harmony.”
The pledge is also directly linked to the Big Bolton Fund (BBF) and encourages supporters of One Bolton to pledge money to the fund, which in turn will be used to support local community programmes across the borough.
The One Bolton Pledge will be launched on Saturday, March 6 at 1pm during two key community events: the Hindu Festival of Colour celebrations on Victoria Square and the finale event of Fairtrade Fortnight in the Festival Hall, in the Town Hall.
Community leaders are encouraging all Bolton residents to stand up and be counted and sign the One Bolton pledge.
The pledge can be signed online at the website above, where residents can learn all about the pledge and its supporters and donate money to the BBF. Residents can also pick up a postcard to sign up to the pledge, which will be available at libraries and community centres across the borough.
Alternatively, residents can show their support by texting PLEDGE to 70007. Texts cost £3, plus the cost of a standard message and £2.55 will be donated directly to the BBF.
The Right Reverend Chris Edmondson, Bishop of Bolton and Chair of Bolton’s Faith Leaders Forum said: “The One Bolton pledge celebrates the unity of Bolton’s family, recognising differences whilst celebrating faithfulness within communities and encouraging harmony. We’d like to encourage all members of all communities to sign the pledge and confirm their commitment to One Bolton.”
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council, added: “Bolton is a town with a proud history of welcoming new communities and celebrating diversity. The One Bolton pledge is a natural evolution from last year’s festival and we encourage residents of all ages to stand up and be counted, sign the pledge and celebrate all that’s great about Bolton.”