Celebrations are taking place across Wales to honour the Windrush Generation, following £55,000 in funding support from Welsh Government.
Windrush Day encourages communities to celebrate those who came to the UK from Caribbean Islands after a call for people to fulfil the post-war labour shortage.
The commemorative day is the anniversary of the arrival to the UK of Her Majesty’s Troopship Empire Windrush and her 492 Caribbean passengers in 1948.
The national day was announced in 2018 to honour the Windrush Generation following the scandal resulting from the UK Government’s “hostile environment” policy. This saw a number of people wrongly detained, denied benefits and losing access to the NHS.
18 projects have been funded across Wales, covering each region of the country. These include:
- A two-day programme of events at the Centre for Cultural Engagement in Colwyn Bay, including speeches, historical presentations and workshops
- A commemoration day in Wrexham highlighting individual stories including a film of the story of Enrico Stennett who was a key member of the team who set up Britain’s first Race Relations Act and a founder member of the North Wales Regional Equality Network organised by Race Council Cymru regional partner CLPW Portuguese community in Wrexham
- A small panel of elders and local community icons from Newport and Monmouthshire followed by Caribbean food, cultural games and music
- A series of events in Butetown, Cardiff, including gospel singing, thanksgiving service in Newport and a poetry evening
- Llanelli Tenants Association will hold a show at the Selwyn Samuel Centre involving over 30 stalls with information, food, music, culture and history from around the world
- Swansea African Community Centre and Congolese communities celebrate Windrush with a day of storytelling, music and dance from the Commonwealth and African Caribbean islands at the Arts Wing of the Swansea Grand Theatre
- Launch of Windrush Day in Torfaen with South Wales Jamaican Society and Race Council Cymru
- Presentation in schools across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Bangor and others organised by Race Council Cymru and their regional partners.
Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip in charge of equalities, said:
As we commemorate such an important cultural landmark in our history, we take these opportunities to embrace and celebrate the invaluable contributions Windrush migrants have made to Wales. We recognise wholeheartedly the wide historic and present-day significance of today as an important part of Welsh history.
It was a privilege to see so many applications come in - from every corner of the country - wanting to hold Windrush events and activities. So many in fact we raised our funding support from £40,000 to £55,000 to ensure our Windrush Generation were rightly honoured.
Judge Ray Singh CBE, Chair of Race Council Cymru said:
It is gives us great pleasure to work with Welsh Government and all the partner organisations to mark National Windrush Day 2019 to recognise the Windrush Generation and their descendants’ contributions to Wales.
Today’s events set a marker in the sands of time and makes a clear statement that Wales celebrates and values the contributions of our Windrush elders and their families who have given years of selfless services to the Welsh society over the past 71yrs and more.
Race Council Cymru also applauds the work and contributions of all migrants who continue to serve their communities, public, private and third sector organisations across Wales.