Council’s Museum and Community Groups Celebrate Second Windrush Day Virtually

Windrush Day 2020

A SERIES of exciting online and broadcast activities are set to be held in Reading this June to celebrate the Windrush Generation’s huge contribution to the town’s economic, social and cultural life.

On Monday 22 June, Reading will come together virtually to celebrate the outstanding and ongoing contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants as part of National Windrush Day. This is an annual event but holds a special importance this year in light of issues affecting the black population in this town and elsewhere, accentuating the importance of celebrating the positive contribution made by the Windrush generation.

Reading’s Caribbean Associations Group (CAG) has been working in partnership with the Alliance for Community Cohesion and Racial Equality (ACRE), AGE UK Berkshire, Globe Church Community and Reading Museum. The group hopes to encourage the people of Reading to observe Windrush Day, offering an exciting programme of digital events and activities to appeal to everyone.

Highlights will include: A range of virtual events and activities hosted on Reading Museum’s website www.readingmuseum.org.uk including:

  •  A digital version of the exhibition Enigma of Arrival: The Politics and Poetics of Caribbean Migration to Britain. This is brought to Reading through a partnership between Reading Museum, Barbados Museum and the University of West Indies. It will open on the Museum’s website at 10am on Monday 22 June and run until Friday 30 October 2020;
  • Windrush education resources for schools;
  • Caribbean themed children’s arts and craft activities;
  • A Windrush Day celebration pack, including recipe ideas for everyone to try at home;
  • Dedicated stories of Reading’s sporting heroes drawn from archives and oral history, including cricket, football and international athletics.

The group has also teamed up with Reading’s Gold Dust digital radio station to produce a Windrush Day Special broadcast which will air throughout the weekend leading up to Windrush Day.

As well as the finest selection of Caribbean music, broadcast features include:

  • Exclusive recordings of members of Reading Windrush generation;
  • Sporting memories from local stars;
  • Calypso performance from Reading’s legendary Jeff ‘The Admiral’ Hinds;
  • Spoken word and music from Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra’s Mary Genis;
  • The story of Windrush through music;
  • Interview with Barbados Museum curators;
  • Details of a Windrush Themed Poetry competition organised by the Reading based creative organisation, ‘Through a Different Lens’;
  • Message of goodwill from the CARICOM, the UK’s umbrella Caribbean organisation speaking as a united voice for all Island Communities.

The broadcast can be listened to on www.golddusthub.com. Broadcasts are scheduled to be aired on all Gold Dust Radio digital channel at the following times – Sunday 21 June 12 pm – 6.30 pm and Monday 22 June (Windrush Day) 4 pm – 10.30 pm

Deano Jones, Director of Gold Dust Radio said:

“It is very important to reflect upon the legacy of Windrush and we are delighted to be involved in the celebrations on June 21st and 22nd. We promise listeners a fantastic blend of music and conversation produced by our local community.”

Cllr Karen Rowland, Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:

“I’m really looking forward to all the events and activities surrounding this year’s Windrush Day. It’s a chance to really celebrate the enormous contribution made by the Windrush Generation and their descendants here in Reading. This year our celebration and acknowledgement of the Windrush Generation carries all the more significance, amidst the on-going struggles of the black community with the heightened risk of Covid-19, the continuing challenges for citizenship and the injustices facing the community which has been highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I admire the determination shown by the group to develop fun-filled and accessible digital events and online activities. This will tell the proud and compelling story of the Windrush Generation and their on-going legacy in Reading.”

Jeff Jones, Chairman of the Caribbean Associations Group (CAG) said:

“Reading Caribbean Community welcomes the opportunity to commemorate our Caribbean forebearers’ legacy, their strong work ethics, love of sport, music, art and storytelling which will be a key element in our planned virtual events in recognising their contribution to Britain. I am sure I speak for the diaspora as we launch the second National Windrush Day on Monday 22nd June 2020.”

Notes

For more information contact:

Rodney Harewood, PR Lead, Reading Windrush Steering Board

Email: rodney.harewood@gmail.com; Tel: 07771 765140

About Windrush

The Windrush Generation refers to the hundreds of thousands of people who came to the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971 in response to post-war labour shortages in Britain

Around 500 passengers stepped off the ship named Empire Windrush at the Port of Tilbury on 22nd June 1948. The ship and its passengers have a symbolic status as the start of the Windrush Generation who travelled from the Caribbean to work and settle in the UK between 1948 and 1971. The Windrush Generation and their descendants have made an enormous contribution to Britain’s cultural, social and economic life. The intention of Windrush Day is to educate, celebrate and commemorate this contribution.

About Reading Windrush Consortium

The Windrush Steering Board comprises the Caribbean Associations Group, Reading Council’s Reading Museum, Alliance for Cohesion & Racial Equality (ACRE) and Age UK Berkshire.

In 2018 the consortium was one of only 50 organisations in the UK to secure Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) funding in a very competitive bidding process. It successfully delivered a number of popular community events and activities. The Consortium successfully secured a second grant in 2020 and began work on a more ambitious programme to ensure Windrush Day on 22 June 2020 would be a momentous occasion in Reading for all to enjoy and learn from.

The Reading Windrush Day Consortium was established in August 2018 in response to the Government’s call for a National Windrush Day of observance to celebrate, commemorate and educate the public on the role that the Windrush generation and their descendants have made to the cultural, economic and social life of the UK.

The MHCLG urged grant recipients to seek means to encourage observance of Windrush Day in the community.

The lockdown caused by Covid-19 has caused the Consortium to adjust its plans to continue to commemorate Windrush Day, whilst observing social distancing. The group has worked well under testing circumstances to maintain communication. The situation has meant difficult decisions were required. This has resulted in plans for an Annual Windrush Sports Day and the Thanksgiving Service being postponed until 2021.

Media images:

Images can be downloaded for use here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmNR5zuc

001.Trevor, Heather and Marcia Small

Trevor, Heather and Marcia Small were just infants when they arrived in Reading from Barbados to be re-united with their parents who had secured a property on Hart Street in West Reading to make a home together. This photograph was taken outside the property and sent to relatives in the Caribbean.

Image Courtesy. Trevor Small Family

002.Work of skilled West Indian labourers

The work of skilled West Indian labourers and their contribution to Reading’s economy is caught on camera at Ideal Casements (a window-frame manufacturer in Earley) in 1960, where many young men found employment.

Image ©Reading Museum/Reading Borough Council (Berkshire Chronicle Collection) All Rights Reserved

003.Sunday best

In their Sunday best. This delightful picture of the Springer family children portrays the growing confidence and sense of pride their young parents, Dorothy and Prince Christopher, must have felt having worked tirelessly to establish themselves as homeowners on Beresford Road in Reading.

Image: Courtesy Sherwin Springer Family

004.Huntley & Palmers

The production lines at Reading’s famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory was a favoured place of work for Reading’s Windrush Generation. The company had long-established trading relationships in the West Indies, importing ingredients including sugar and coconuts and exporting biscuit tins. The firm was a household name in the Caribbean, and this is one of the reasons why Reading became a popular destination for the young workforce.

©Reading Museum/Reading Borough Council. All Rights Reserved

Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email victoria.nickless@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 3957