AT the start of Black History Month, local equality campaigners have endeavoured to show Barnsley’s ‘reputation for friendship is well-earned’.

Barnsley Stand Up to Racism recently held a ‘car cavalcade’ which culminated in a banner drop over Westway in the town centre, with signs bearing the messages ‘refugees welcome’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’.

And members of the group, who are now planning to hold a series of ‘Love Music Hate Racism’ events featuring local artists, said the upcoming Black History Month was an important time to show the impact black and minority people have had on the town – and highlight their present-day experiences.

Black History Month – which started yesterday – is an annual period of celebration and reflection for the contributions of black people.

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Fran Postlethwaite, secretary of Barnsley Stand Up to Racism, said: “There are a lot of people from different places who like Barnsley and find it a welcoming place.

“Most people feel its reputation for friendship is well-earned.

“A tiny, vocal minority can make things very unpleasant for people, and that’s why we need to argue against that and say they are only a minority.

“Lots of people come forward to say very positive things.

“The recent Black Lives Matter demonstration in the town centre was very well-attended, and that was mainly students and young workers that called it – black, white and different cultures all coming together.

“The car cavalcade was our first event since lockdown and we certainly had a lot of thumbs-up and supportive waves.”