Commonwealth Day flag flies at County Buildings in Ayr
The importance of tolerance and equality were the central themes of a special ceremony held by South Ayrshire Council today (14 March). The Commonwealth Flag was raised at the town's St Germain-en-Laye Gardens in Ayr, marking Commonwealth Day 2016.
Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations, with civic dignitaries, local authorities, schools, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles taking part in local events.
Each year is themed and 2016 puts the issue of diversity centre stage. The Commonwealth Charter asserts that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly, whether they are rich or poor, without regard to their race, age, gender, belief or other identity.
Helen Moonie, Provost, South Ayrshire Council, said: "Tolerance and equality go right to the heart of what we do and I'm proud to raise the flag to send a message of support for an inclusive Scotland on Commonwealth Day.
"This year we expect to begin to welcome Syrian refugees to the area, with around 42 people expected to settle here in the next five years.
"We've already got experience of helping people fleeing brutal conflict overseas, with our Afghan Relocation Programme having been warmly received by locals.
"Diversity is already alive and well in South Ayrshire, and it's that goodwill that helps people of every persuasion live peaceful lives together, regardless of background."