COMMUNITY activists have been joined by Dudley Council leaders and staff from all political parties to start work on creating the 2015 Black Country Festival.

Organisers are hoping to build on the success of the first ever festival which took place last year.

Festival founder Garry Sawers is again joined by Steve Edwards and events organiser Dave Brownhill, together with the leader of Dudley Council, Labour councillor Pete Lowe.

This year Conservative councillor Patrick Harley, UKIP councillor Paul Brothwood, Green Party councillor Will Duckworth and Independent councillor Ken Turner have joined the organising group to give it full cross-party support and help make this year "even better".

Steve Edwards, chairman of the organising committee, said: “We worked hard to make the first ever festival happen last year but now we’re all determined to build on the success and make this year even better.

“It’s great that we’ve got more people involved in the organising and planning and we’ve already had interest from all over the area from people keen to get involved with their own community events to celebrate the Black Country.”

Following initial meetings, there is already a wide range of community events already planned to form part of this year’s festival across Dudley borough.

The planning team of this year’s event were given a boost this month when the festival was awarded the Community Engagement Campaign of the Year at the PR Moment Awards in London.