In the wake of the Windrush scandal in 2018, which saw hundreds of Caribbean immigrants wrongly deemed as being in the UK illegally, the government announced an annual Windrush Day to encourage communities to commemorate the Windrush story. It also marked the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the first post-war Caribbean migrants.
The national celebration is backed by a £500,000 grant scheme which was launched by the government in October last year.
This year marks the second annual Windrush Day, but the 2020 celebrations are set to look very different. With social distancing restrictions in place amid the coronavirus outbreak, commemorations are going virtual
Four projects across Yorkshire and the Humber have received a share of over £46,000 in government funding to hold a wide range of events on Windrush Day and throughout the year, to celebrate, commemorate and educate communities about the Windrush generation.
Among those is Alive & Kicking, a Leeds-based theatre company which received £16,000 to produce an interactive and immersive performance to be shown in schools and community centres.
Author Trish Cooke will be leading the online celebrations on Monday 22 June, with new readings from one of her children’s books, which you can watch here.
As coronavirus restrictions ease, the theatre company hopes to take its immersive performance into schools to share the historical experience of West Indians travelling from the Caribbean to Britain.
Alive & Kicking is also creating a docudrama tracing the lives of the Windrush people and their children, which will be available to watch online during Black History Month in October.
Trish Cooke says education about the subject is vital:
Staff from Kriklees Council have been working closely with the West Yorkshire Archive and the Jamaican National Council Huddersfield, to develop an electronic resource pack, highlighting how people can take part in celebrations at home.
Councillor Shabir Pandor explained:
The resource pack includes stories about the Windrush generation, links to reading materials and films, as well as ideas for activities people can enjoy, from cooking to playing dominoes and cricket.
Lincolnshire-based Cultural Solutions UK has launched the Windrush Lincoln programme after being awarded £15,700 in government funding.
As part of the programme, a website has been created to mark Windrush Day 2020.
The website explains:
The site will provide a platform for work being commissioned for Black History Month in October, including testimonials from the Windrush generation and their children, as well artwork from their grandchildren. Educational worksheets will also be made available in October for schools to download.
As part of the commemorative activities, a tree-planting ceremony was planned for 22 June at the University of Lincoln. It’s now been postponed until later in the year due to social distancing restrictions.
David Lambert from Cultural Solutions UK said:
Also marking Windrush Day is the Geraldine Connor Foundation.
The Leeds-based charity is holding an online event called Generations Dreaming, featuring a mixture of music and literature which honours the Windrush Generation.
The charity has also created an online learning resource for young people in KS2 and above. The downloadable pack contains interviews with first generation immigrants from the Caribbean and their descendants, as well as sharing other resources such as recipes, music playlists and reading lists.