Luton draws on football fever for cohesion scheme

Luton Council is using a football theme to launch a community cohesion campaign to coincide with the build-up to Euro 2004, which starts in two weeks, The United Colours of Luton will feature posters mimicking the glossy style of football kit manufacturers, but will carry a message celebrating the town’s ethnic diversity during the run-up to the tournament and over the remainder of the year.

The campaign kicks off with 48 sheet hoardings in the town, as well as a mobile hoarding as part of Luton’s International Carnival parade on 30 May.

The campaign will evolve over the course of the year to cover different themes, featuring poster and press advertising and media relations activity.

The initiative comes as seven British National Party candidates in Luton prepare to stand in the local elections on 10 June.

A council spokeswoman said one reason for the campaign was to counteract bad publicity the region has suffered from extreme right-wing political groups.

Council chief executive Darra Singh said: ‘In this town, difference and variety is something to be enjoyed and celebrated.

‘We have an incredibly diverse community with people of 140 nationalities, but the town is far from a hotbed of extremism and we think the time is right to remind ourselves of what Luton really stands for.’

Luton Police chief Ivor Twydell added that with England in a major football tournament, it was important to discourage aggressive nationalism. He said no one wanted to see Luton tarnished by misinformed media perceptions.

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