A Men’s Friendship Group has been formed and the next meeting is to be held on 23rd March 19.50 to 20.00 at the Isobel Community Centre Café, Pan Newport IW.

Equals is interested in supporting the UN sponsored World Diversity Day held traditionally on the 21st of May. There was a hope that St Thomas's Sqquare might be available but on enquiry to the IW Council it appears that such an event would be classed as a "Market" and so subject to a whole host of regulation and charges.

Equals propose to come up with an annual calendar of activities to include for example the Holocaust Memorial Day and World Diversity Day. The calenar would be submitted to the Council and organizations involved for approval prior to publication.

It was  noted that Womens' Friendship Group has a lively programme of activity over the next few months.

The next committee meeting date has been changed to 25th March from 10.00 to 12.00 at Newport Police Station but has yet to be confirmed.

The Isle of Wight Mardi Gras, held in Ryde every last Saturday in June, is a flagship event which showcases the very best of children and young people’s carnival experience through learning, creating and performance.

The theme this year is "All the World’s A Stage" and is part of the Shakespeare's 400th anniversary celebrations.

Research and learning about the theme underpins the design of each costume section, contributed to by the young people themselves and made in creative workshops led by teachers, parents and volunteers.

  • To be held on Saturday 25 June 2016, in Ryde Town Centre and Esplanade
  • The Parade assembles in Ryde School Playing Fields, Queens Road, at 1.15 pm
  • The Parade leaves at 3 pm following a route from Queens Road to Newport Street, The High Street, Union Street and along the Esplanade.
  • The Parade finishes at Eastern Esplanade Gardens where there will be a celebration party with MC Coco P from 4.30pm till 7pm.

More information about the Equals Friendship Group's carnival contribution later.

The New Carnival Company website has further details.

Equals Friendship Group will again join The New Carnival Company and 33 other schools and groups in Mardi Gras 2016. The theme this year is William Shakespeare.

mardi gras flyer


We are going to bring The Taming of the Shrew to life. Our line from it is... " If I Be Waspish , Best Beware My Sting " which Katherine said to Petruchio.

So come and cheer for us on Saturday, 25th June from 3 PM in Ryde.

Following the Annual General Meeting, the Equals Open Day was well-attended by more than 50 people, representing 6 countries.

2016 Open Day

The ladies from the Equals Friendship Group brought absolutely gorgeous home-made traditional food, representing dishes from each of their countries. The display was outstanding and the aromas were difficult to resist. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, helped tremendously by Aireen Gauntlett who was Master of Ceremonies.

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A bottle of wine was presented to Dr. Shazad Khan, Chairman, for his continuing support of Equals. He gave a speech of thanks and expressed delight at the success of the group. Cecilia (Cici) Shaw was given flowers as a “thank you” for all the time and effort she has given to Equals. Niviera Piper, Vice-Chairperson, received flowers for her outstanding contribution to the charity, the Friendship Group and the organisation of the English Conversation Group. Caz Hailstone who guides the Conversation Group also received flowers.

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Among the guests were Police Community Support Officer Lisa Paul who regularly supports and advises the group, Mark Cox from MC Enhancements who offers free courses , Jo Henley from Communications at St.Marys Hospital, Newport and Jane McKean the Equals Committee Secretary who is also a Health visitor at Cowes Medical Centre and has been a tremendous support to the Group. Also in attendance were the husbands and families of Equals supporters.

A number of ladies wore traditional costume; they were all beautiful. It was judged that the most outstanding was Cecilia (Cici) Shaw's lovely dress and head dress.

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Cici won first prize in the competition for best costume. A raffle was run, with an amazing first prize of a holiday generously donated by Aireen, who owns a Guest House here on the Isle of Wight. Cici Shaw was the very surprised winner! She and her husband look forward to taking a well-deserved break...when they have a minute to spare.

The second prize was 2 sacks of rice, kindly donated by Fernando's Store, the Philippino shop in Newport and the third prize was a hamper of toiletries donated by Equals Friendship Group, both won by Eden. There were several consolation prizes, all kindly donated by Equals members.

Caz Hailstone made an appeal for everyone in need of guidance with the English Language to attend the Conversation Group regularly. The group currently meets each term-time Monday morning at The Man in the Moon, Newport at 10.30 for an hour. Caz said that the funding for this group is for 8 or more people; if less than 8 attend weekly, we will lose the funding for the course. This is an important offshoot of the Friendship Group, free to anyone and we would like the provision to continue. Please support the group!

Many children also attended and enjoyed the four-hour event.

Also present were the remaining people listed as present in the minutes of the AGM, who all support Equals unfailingly. Laraine Pascoe, Wendy Loader, Sandra Trigg and Anna Speczyck all enjoyed the event; all offered ongoing and unconditional assistance and advice. Jo Henley has also offered to help promote Equals via St.Marys Hospital website.

Finally, a mention must go to everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes before, during and after the event. Lots of people helped in the kitchen and with clearing everything away afterward. A big “THANK YOU” to all concerned; Dr Khan also went above and beyond the call of duty which did not go unnoticed.

kitchen 992fc4d2 c82a 4bce 95fa 07dc9f9c875eCameras were clicking throughout the event and many can be found on Equals Isle of Wight Facebook; the official photographs of the Open Day shown here were taken by Martin Young.

Thank you to everyone who supported this annual get-together; roll on Open Day 2017!

The AGM and Equals Open Day were held at the Scout Hall , Smithards Lane Cowes Isle of Wight on Saturday 23rd April 2016.