Awareness of hate crimes and mental health issues were some of the topics an inter-faith group focused on at their annual event to promote community cohesion.

The fifth annual ‘faith fayre’ run by Waltham Forest Faith Communities Forum took place on Saturday, August 4 in Walthamstow Town Square.

Worshippers from 13 congregations across the borough took part including Bedford Road Hindu temple, Walthamstow Seventh Day Adventist Church, Our Lady of the Rosary and St Patrick’s Church in Blackhorse Road and Noor Ul Islam mosque.

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In keeping with the event’s theme of ‘neighbour to neighbour’, each group set up a stall to answer questions from passersby about their beliefs and hand out information.

Wendy Smith, chairman of the forum, said: "We are encouraging everyone, whether you are a person of faith or no faith, to consider everyone in our community as your neighbour and to think about what it means to be a neighbour- a good neighbour.

"How should we treat our neighbour? Looking out for one another, making sure our neighbour is safe and that they get support when they are in need or they might feel vulnerable.”

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Ms Smith said the aim of this year’s theme was to ensure everyone in the borough “feels welcome here and included”.

She added: "Sometimes difficult issues arise and we don't always agree or understand others’ views but as neighbours we will do our best to ensure that we deal with situations in a way that enables us to carry on living well together."

Sajid Patel, founder of National Cricket League, spoke about the power of sport in bringing people from different backgrounds onto the same stage with the same goal.

Sally, from St Peters in the Forest Church in Walthamstow, said: “How lovely to see so many different faith groups sharing ideas, music and fruit in our town square. What a blessing.”

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Melanie Ellis of the SGI lay Buddhist organisation, added: “This is an important initiative to show the diversity and yet cohesion within our community.”

Yusuf Hansa of Noor ul Islam mosque in Leyton said: “Allah (God) says in the Quran, ‘And help each other in righteousness and piety and don't help each other enmity and transgression.’”

The event supported by the Mayor of Waltham Forest, Cllr Sally Littlejohn, was used to encourage people to sign up to become hate crime ambassadors in their communities.

The volunteer roles involve challenging attitudes and supporting people or groups which are targeted or particularly vulnerable.

The forum will hold two training days on August 11 and 31 at Waltham Forest Town Hall.

Another topic covered was the stigma surrounding mental health and the event was used to promote the Waltham Forest Time to Change campaign.

Members of the forum called on people living in the borough who have overcome mental health issues to sign up to become ‘champions’ and receive funding from the council to host activities challenging mental health stigma.