On Wednesday 13 December 2017, our local Mayor, Cllr Tunde Ojetola, held a reception in the Thurrock Council offices in New Road, Grays, for leaders of faith communities represented in our borough.
Some 25 or so people came – the overwhelming majority were from different Christian denominations, but also present were representatives from Thurrock’s Sikhs and Muslims.
The Mayor greeted everyone and a prayer was said by his Chaplain, Pastor Akin Laosun from Gates of Praise in Grays. The Mayor then made a short speech.
He stressed the changing demographis of the borough: in 2001 Thurrock’s population was 130,000 people – just ten years later it was 157,000, and so is inevtiably higher still six years on. Growth in numbers means an increase of diversity, and more houses, better schools and better roads are always needed. The faith sector are the community leaders who communicate best with the community. It is Tunde’s vision to marry faith groups with the Council so that this communication can include local government.
Rob Gledhill, Leader of the Council, celebrated the fact that different people groups, cultures, religions were all meeting in one room. He echoed the Mayore’s point that faith groups are able to link with the community in a way Council can’t. He said that 32,000 new homes are being built, abd that 70% of of those homes are becuase of for expansion of borough. New logistic hubs bring in new people. “We’re here for you,” Rob said.
Also speaking were Natalie Warren, the Communities and Diversity Officer, and Lynn Carpenter, the Chief Executive of Thurrock Council.
Top: Mayor Tunde Ojetola (right) and Rob Gledhill (left)
Bottom: Some of the delegates