Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes talks about City Hall's new reception events to develop a sense of community for all Londoners.
On Monday night, the Mayor hosted the first in a series of in a series of receptions that aim to build on the community spirit of Londoners.
The Mayoral Community Borough Reception was based upon geography covering the GLA constituencies of Lambeth / Southwark, and Wandsworth / Merton – rather than individual communities defined by faith, race, business, orientation, nationality, disability.
Our objective is to help build a united London where we think of ourselves as Londoners first and our heritage second, making the capital a tolerant place and a place of safety.
This marks a sea change in the way City Hall engages with London's many different communities, and the events will also be an opportunity to champion London's unsung heroes who give something back to their communities and have worked hard to make their area a better place.
Nearly 300 Londoners from the Brownies to police officers, Peter Tatchell to the Archbishop of Southwark and Muslim Imams, volunteers, the elderly, disabled people attended the first event. The kaleidoscope and jigsaw puzzle that is London in all its richness, came to City Hall to meet the Mayor, to talk to each other and exchange contacts and views.
The objective was to thank the guests for the part they play in making London the success that it is, a success measured not in financial but in social terms. A city that is coming together and celebrating the commonality of being a Londoner, rather than a salami slice defined by background.
Many of the guests had never been to City Hall before and enjoyed the magnificent views from the ninth floor, and probably, under other circumstances would not have had the opportunity.
Ten more evening receptions will take place between now and 2012, and we look forward to welcoming London's many communities here at City Hall.