A POPULAR community festival is set to return for its fourth year.

Carlisle Unity Festival will be back in the city centre on Saturday, July 14 for an afternoon that will celebrate the diversity of the city’s communities.

It has become a staple of the city’s event calendar with entertainment and events taking over the centre for the whole day.

During the event, people “should expect hope, strength in our community and our spirit for making Carlisle a welcoming place for everyone around the world,” said Aftab Khan, development manager of Awaz Cumbria.

He said: “Since 2016, Carlisle Unity Festival has contributed significantly in bringing people and organisations together across the city and helped in fostering good relations and sustainable partnership between all those involved.

“We are creating opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to become active citizens and involved in social action for creating a more caring and sharing society in Carlisle and beyond.”

Carlisle Unity Festival is the brainchild of a number of community organisations that emerged out of the divisions that formed as a result of Brexit.

In 2016, Mr Khan was growing increasingly concerned about the relationships in the county - and the country - as he saw people being split apart over the referendum.

This year the focus will be on building partnerships for unity in the community, which truly gets to the heart of what the festival is about.

Organisations that take part in the festival “forge partnerships between them to deliver different projects to take the unity message far and beyond,” said Mr Khan.

Based on the initial success of the Carlisle Unity Festival, a Kendal Unity Festival was set up - it has the same ethos but set up for a different demographic of people.

“It is an indigenous, local, creative, community event,” Mr Khan remarked.

The Kendal Unity Festival will take place on Saturday, June 22.

University of Cumbria, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council, Unison, Tesco’s Bags for Help and Awards for All have provided funding for the Carlisle Unity festival.

The whole schedule for the Carlisle festival is yet to be confirmed.