20 people, aged between 9 and 84, shared something from their community’s culture
at the first 1000 Lives Cultural Exchange on 12th August 2017.

People waving City of Culture 2021 flags and smiling

The event was for people who volunteer or take social action
in their communities in Stoke-on-Trent.

A 1000 Lives Cultural Exchange offers people a chance to

  • meet new people involved in community action,
  • explore what culture means to people from diverse communities,
  • find out about the 1000 Lives Network and communities around the city,
  • share their gifts, strengths and culture
  • ask for what they need to help them make a difference in their community.

We asked people to think about what makes their community special and different, and suggested this could be food, music, language, culture, religion, nationality, ethnic origins, their identity as a disabled person or as LGBTQ, creative skills, the part of Stoke on Trent or part of the world people are from, or anything else!

People came to the event to: listen, to share their culture, to learn from other people about different cultures, to connect with old friends and meet new people, and to find out about 1000 Lives and community action around the city.

Visitors to the Cultural Exchange shared:

  • Onions grown at Betty Rushton Community Garden
  • A dance and music from Sri Lankan Baranatyam and Folk music traditions
  • Home-made Rhubarb and Orange jam and the recipe
  • Persian rice dishes from Iran – savoury “Baghali Polo” served with chicken curry and a sweet rose-water flavoured rice dish called “Sholeh Zard”, and the recipes
  • Experiences of living with long-term limiting illness and disability, and being carers, and using this experience to support and listen to others to help prevent suicide
  • Vegetarian 5 bean chilli
  • Information about their activity setting up new community projects and groups
  • Home-made lemon cake and coconut chocolate and cherry tray-bake
  • Stories about coming to the Stoke-on-Trent from Switzerland and from other British communities.
  • Quince and lime juice drink from Iran
  • Experience of cultural changes enabling someone to come out as a Lesbian in later life and becoming a published author of Lesbian fiction
  • Stories of moving from paid work in private sector organisations and starting to volunteer to make a difference, share skills and for a more positive life
  • Common ground – love of theatre, running community gardens, sewing, cooking, and drumming for dance including Brasilian carnival and Morris dancing.

Download a copy of the reipces from the cultural exchange here -  Persian savoury rice, Persian sweet rice pudding,  Rhubarb and Orange Jam, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Cherry, Choc and Coconut Traybake, and Chocolate Cake.

We talked about what culture means to us, in the context of sharing our experiences of volunteering in our communities.

Some comments people made were:

“Culture is something that has been practised in the past, and in the present and will continue in the future”

“There’s a lot of hate and mistrust. Some communities are cornered communities. I never feel that here…..it’s the opposite.”

“Out of many…. one people. It’s the motto of Jamaica and it’s what we want for our community”

“sharing our cultures today has reconfirmed my faith in human nature, that people care”

 We asked people if 1000 Lives should hold more Cultural Exchanges in future. Everyone said yes and 3 people offered to help organise them.

 Got It Want It resource sharing

At every 1000 Lives event we invite people to ask for things that will help them with their community action, and to offer things they can share to help others.

At the Cultural Exchange these included:


  • Opportunity for people who like to dance to join Black Dog Molly (Morris dancing group) on Thursday evenings from 7pm-9pm in Tunstall.
  • Spreadsheets, accounting and book keeping skills.


  • Help with Project planning, applying for funding and social media.
  • I want to start a community garden network to share ideas and skills

Feedback from the event was:



I have liked coming and talking to everyone and listening to other people.I will come again now I know what it is like.Meeting others and exchanging ideas and views.Loved the exchange of food and the warm welcome.

I loved sharing and hearing the different views about ‘Culture

I loved the music.

I loved the food! (x 3)

I loved meeting people from different communities.

I loved the openness of the event and the bonding.

I will take away a lifted, inspired feeling.Friendship (x 2)Thoughts/ ideas


Ideas and inspiration

New recipesI learned that there are a lot of lovely people in Stoke-on-Trent.Events happening in the future. Cold roomNothing!!!

All the Small Things CiC plan to apply for funding for 1000 Lives to run more events like this in future.

If you would like to find out more or get involved please contact us by email hello@ 1000lives.org.uk or phone 0751 881 3131