£500,000 fund for 2021 Windrush Day celebrations launched

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Community-led groups are being invited to bid from today (20 January) for a share of up to £500,000 to develop and host events which celebrate the Windrush Generation and recognise their contribution to British Life.

The annual Windrush Day Grant Scheme will provide up to £25,000 to local councils, charities and community groups seeking to create projects and host events for Windrush Day in 22 June 2021 and throughout the year.

Projects seeking funding need to demonstrate that they will bring communities together, create a lasting impact and improve education and learning through building a deeper understanding of the Windrush Generation and their contributions to British society.

This year MHCLG would particularly like to hear from projects proposing to record the memories and testimonies of the Windrush Generation for posterity and also those with plans to organise activities with schools.

Windrush Day 2021 follows two successful events in 2019 and 2020 in which nearly 100 projects which celebrated the British Caribbean community’s culture and heritage were supported by the scheme.

Previous awardees included the Manchester-based Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust whose project ‘Women of the Soil’ focused on the empowerment of young women. The Trust organised and produced ‘Windrush Women – The Backbone of the NHS’ at Z-arts in Hulme. Following in the footsteps of Louise Da-Cocodia, herself a nurse who worked for the NHS for 30 years, the play focused on three generations of women working in the NHS, highlighting how the Windrush generation helped shape what the NHS is today.

SoCo Music Project in Southampton. SoCo, together with members of Black Heritage Southampton Centre, ran music-making workshops where participants learnt, performed and recorded traditional Caribbean folk songs.

Museumand, the National Caribbean Heritage Museum which produced an online book called 70 Objeks n Tings. The project involved conducting 184 interviews with members of the Windrush Generation to create a book used by families, schools and universities.

Hackney Council held a Windrush Festival and developed a range of activities including an intergenerational song writing project which brough together a group of young musicians with Caribbean elders to compost songs telling their personal stories.

The project Kick it Out produced radio programme and a film to educate young people and adults about Windrush history and their communities. As part of this they developed an education pack that was shared with 23 secondary schools and three universities in the West Midlands which continues to be used as part of an ongoing educational programme.

This announcement comes as work begins to find the artist for the landmark Windrush Monument expected to be unveiled in London Waterloo by Windrush Day 2022.

The monument will be an ambitious public artwork that stands as a testament to the contribution of Caribbean pioneers in communities across the United Kingdom. It will create a permanent place of reflection and inspiration and be a visible statement of our shared history and heritage. The project is being overseen by MHCLG and led by the Windrush Commemoration Committee (WCC), chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE.

Communities Minister Lord Greenhalgh said:

Following two hugely successful national Windrush Days, I am delighted to confirm that applications for funding Windrush Day 2021 are now open.

The story of the Windrush Generation and their descendants is one of fortitude. This government is committed to ensuring that we never forget their story.

We want to hear original and inspiring proposals to record the memories and testimonies of the Windrush Generation this year as well as plans to work with schools – so that generations to come remember the huge contribution they made and continue to make to this country.

Chair of the Windrush Community Funds and Windrush Schemes group Paulette Simpson CBE (chair) said:

For over half a century The Windrush Generation and their descendants have contributed immensely to the economic, cultural and social life of modern Britain. Windrush Day and the Windrush Day Grant Scheme, now in its third year, provide a unique opportunity for communities to come together and commemorate the immense contributions of Caribbean communities, which have enriched our country’s heritage.

The commitment, ambition and creativity the 2020 Windrush Day Grant Scheme projects showed, especially in adapting their plans in the wake of the pandemic where needed, was truly commendable. I am eagerly looking forward to Windrush Day 2021 and the positive impact that this year’s Grant Scheme will bring.

Those bidding for this year’s grant should be able to show that their projects support the central aims of Windrush Day – to tell the story of the Windrush Generation and celebrate and recognise how they have shaped Britain’s heritage. Projects should be rooted in communities and involve the Windrush Generation descendants in as many areas as possible as well as those from different age groups and background.

For applications for funding for Windrush Day 2021, the Department is particularly keen to hear from projects who can:

  • record the memories and testimonies to preserve and share the stories and experiences of the Windrush Generation;
  • undertake activities in partnership with schools, for example, assemblies, workshops, education trips and creative project work
  • organise celebratory events for the wider Caribbean community and the Windrush Generation

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