A Caribbean bake-off and a cricket tournament are among events to be funded by a £10,000 Government grant to Hackney Council to celebrate Windrush Day.
The Government allowance of £500,000 will be split across 50 organisations around the UK to fund events in June marking the anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in 1948. Windrush Day is June 22.
Hackney’s £10,00 will help fund events at Stoke Newington Town Hall for local people from the Windrush generation, a Caribbean bake-off, a cricket tournament, as well as a scheme that will offer grants to community projects across the borough.
There are also plans for intergenerational activities, such as the Windrush baking project, where old traditions are passed on to the younger generations.
Deputy Mayor Anntoinette Bramble said: “Hackney has a large Caribbean population, and as such we are excited to receive this funding, which will support us in our borough-wide celebrations of the Windrush generation.
“This year’s Windrush Day event will build on the success of last year’s Caribbean Tea Party, and will see young people working with their elders to learn more about their life and contributions to the community and culture of Hackney today.”
Hackney has a proud and celebrated connection to the Windrush generation; About 8% of Hackney’s population is of Afro-Caribbean ethnic background and it’s believed the borough is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of the Windrush generation, and many more from Commonwealth countries across the globe.
Speaking on the importance of marking Windrush day, Deputy Mayor Bramble said: “It’s really important that as a borough with a large Caribbean community, that we celebrate Windrush Day and those who came from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain and shape British society. Alongside celebrations it’s also important for us to honour and respect people affected by this history in the present, and realise the hardships that communities like the Windrush generation still face today, and how as a society we can reflect on history to overcome this.”
Godfrey Forrest, 66 from Hackney, arrived in London in 1967. He came with his father, a mechanic, from Trinidad. He told ELL how important these events are in the community: “When I arrived in London there were already communities across the city for us from the Caribbean, but it was still a totally new world for me. Growing up at that time was as scary as it was exciting, but it felt so special to call London my home. Windrush Day is a fantastic celebration of our culture and identity, and an opportunity for the wider community to learn more about who we are and where we come from, to dance and sing, and to reconnect with friends.”
“I think I’m most looking forward to the cricket tournament this year, I used to be very fast, maybe not so much these days but I do enjoy watching others play. ”
In August 2018, Hackney was the first council in the UK to pass a motion pledging to oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families, calling for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ policies and for support for those who have been affected by them, agreeing to celebrate annual Windrush Day, and press central Government for a public inquiry into the scandal.