FOUR exciting new events are to be held in Reading to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush Generation to the town’s economic, social and cultural life, following a successful application for government funding.
Reading Borough Council will be working with a consortium of local community groups to organise the activities to coincide with the first national Windrush Day on 22nd June 2019.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has awarded a grant of £10,000 for the project which will involve Reading Museum, the Alliance of Community Cohesion in Reading (ACRE), Barbados and Friends Association (BAFA), Reading Caribbean Associations Group (CAG) and Age UK Berkshire.
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 (see Notes to Editors).
The government announced in November 2018 that a national Windrush Day would be held on 22nd June every year and invited local authorities, charities and community groups to apply for funding.
The Council-led consortium secured funding for four events:
· The Inaugural Windrush Sports Day: A family-friendly sports day with an inter-generational theme, involving cricket and demonstrations of a variety of sports and games enjoyed by the original Windrush generation. The event will be complemented with music and food.
· Windrush Community Theatre Production: A dramatisation of conversations and first-hand accounts from individuals from Reading’s Windrush Generation and their descendants, followed by post-show discussions and workshops.
· Windrush Community Art Exhibition: A community-made art exhibition, commemorating the Windrush Generation’s legacy, drawing inspiration from Reading’s landmark Black History Mural.
· Windrush Contemporary Collection: A programme of contemporary museum and archive collecting with the aim of increasing representation of the Caribbean community in Reading Museum’s ‘Story of Reading’ gallery.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:
“I am very excited about this project to celebrate the enormous contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to Reading and to the rest of the UK.
“This funding will allow the Council and community groups to work together to develop a series of fun and fascinating events which will tell the proud and compelling story of Reading’s Windrush Generation.”
Jeff Jones, Chairman of the Caribbean Associations Group (CAG) said:
“Reading Caribbean Community welcomes the opportunity to get together and celebrate our Caribbean ‘forefathers’ legacy, their strong work ethics, love of sport, music, art and storytelling, which will be a key element in our planned events in recognising their contribution to Britain. I am sure I speak for the diaspora as we launch the inaugural National Windrush Day on 22nd June 2019”.
Notes to Editors
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 recognise and promote understanding of this contribution.