Census competition celebrates British diversity

Census competition celebrates British diversity

An online photo competition will be launched on 4 October in a drive to encourage more people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities to fill in next year’s census. Called ‘Then and now: family stories’ the competition will give families across England and Wales the chance to celebrate the personal histories behind the changing face of Britain in the last 50 years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which manages the census, is running the competition in partnership with Olympus, a leading manufacturer of professional opto-digital products. Details of the competition can be found at www.census.gov.uk/2011thenandnow

Every family has its favourite stories that are passed from generation to generation. Contestants need to choose their most amazing, amusing or touching story to tell the world, using just two photographs and 250-500 words.

Entries must impress a celebrity judging panel including BBC broadcaster Kurt Barling, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and TV presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli. Prizes include high end digital cameras from Olympus and winning families could see their pictures projected onto iconic buildings in major cities, including London and Birmingham.

BBC broadcaster Kurt Barling said: “The 2011 Census is likely to show a nation that is increasingly culturally diverse. This competition will hopefully reveal glimpses of just how this came about.”

Journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said: “This, as Daniel Defoe said, is a land of many peoples, and it has been forever. Every family in the country will have connections outside their spot – including wars, migration to the new world, internal movements and intermarriages. That mix has given Britain colour, flavours, an open culture and infinite possibilities. The pictures and stories we expect to get will reflect that, hopefully through touching, intimate images.”

Helen Bray, Head of Census Communications at ONS said: “The census includes everyone – it is a snapshot of all communities at a national and local level.

“Our competition has a focus on family life. We want to encourage everyone to take part in the census so that the needs of their family are taken into account when decisions are made about the provisions for services like schools, roads and hospitals.”

The census will take place on 27 March 2011. The statistics gathered will help local authorities plan for services such as transport, housing, hospitals, schools, community centres and libraries. The ethnic make up of England and Wales is likely to have changed since the last census in 2001, so the 2011 Census is essential to ensure that the needs of every community are taken into account in the future.

The competition will accept entries until midnight 3 December 2010.

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Website: http://www.census.gov.uk/2011thenandnow
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