A huge thank you to everyone who supported our expression of interest in the City of Culture competition.

The level of support we received from partners across Gwent was overwhelming.

We are committed to using this opportunity as a springboard to further develop our cultural partnerships and wider offering in Newport.

October is Black History Month.

This year we have much to celebrate, particularly the inclusion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic history in the new curriculum here in Wales.

As a council we’ve committed to Race Council Cymru’s Zero Tolerance to Racism Policy for Wales.

Black History 365, Refugee Week, Holocaust Memorial Day and Hate Crime Awareness Week have all been recognised and promoted across the city, including within our schools.

As part of Black History Month, I would like to pay tribute to the black American singer Paul Robeson and his strong links with the miners of South Wales. In 1929, he was attending a gala in London after his performance in Showboat when he heard a Welsh miners’ choir singing in the street.

The miners had walked to London to protest pay and conditions.

Robeson joined them in song and marched with them until they got to a large building where he mounted the steps and sang “Old Man River”. This was the start of a life-long friendship with the Labour movement in Wales.

The coming together of cultures through music and the arts, sharing our stories and experiences, is a feature of Welsh life. The moving and evocative Windrush exhibition highlights the stories of the elders who chose to make their homes here, preserving history for the generations who will follow. I am so very proud that some of this generation chose to make their homes here in Newport.

I was delighted to join the Maindee Festival parade this year, joining together in celebration with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. Reflecting upon the excellent community arts scene that we have here in Newport fills me with pride.

The work that organisations like Operasonic and Ballet Cymru do with local schools; developing skills and confidence with young people from a range of cultures and backgrounds, is inspirational.

Art and culture have an important role in developing awareness and understanding.

This week as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week we are collaborating with Victim Support and cultural venues across the city to highlight the impact that hate crimes have and how they can be reported. Join us and view the unique community artwork developed by groups across the city and give a message of support, love or hope in our book and visit the pop-up art showcase.

Our diverse city and our communities are rich in culture; people are the strength of our place. Kamila Jarczak’s Women of Newport exhibition on Commercial Street, part of the Diffusion project, is a testament to this.

City of Culture was always about ensuring people feel good about living, working, visiting and investing in Newport. We still want to seize every opportunity to promote confidence and pride within our communities and to showcase Newport – and I truly feel we are now in a stronger position than ever to do so.