MUSIC, dance and food brought together hundreds of people from different countries at Victoria Hall.

Organisers, the British Red Cross mixed the serious message of hate crime awareness with a celebration of Bolton’s diverse cultures.

From mid-morning today more than 250 people flocked to the hall where a workshop was laid on by Bolton Community Safety Services to inform them about how to report hate crime and there were also details about the different services available in the town.

Throughout the free event there were stalls giving out information, advice and selling goods.

PCSO Dougie Tamumo, manning the police stall, said the event had been successful.

“People have been asking questions,” said Mr Tamumo.

“Some are not aware about hate crime and what to do about it. A lot of them are happier now and more confident.”

Food and fun were also the order of the day, with people treated to free henna art and massages whilst the children had their faces painted.

Families could share food from around the world with dishes from Egypt, Ethiopia, China, Eritrea, Russia, Iran and even English vegan cake.

And when it came to music, a series of live acts from Russia, England, Sudan, Tanzania and the Congo got everyone to their feet and dancing.

Red Cross outreach worker Prossy Kakooza, who organised the day, was delighted with its success and the number of people who took part.

“It is fantastic,” she said. “We expected some people to come because we have a drop-in every Monday, but more have come than we thought.

“Bolton is so diverse but people don’t usually get a chance for everyone to get together. It has been about sharing information and people having a good time and interacting with each other.”

It is the first time the event has been held in Bolton and there are now plans to make it an annual occasion to tie in with Greater Manchester Hate Crime Awareness Week.