Hear the distant drums as Mansfield Museum celebrates Windrush Day funding success

Windrush Day funding bid successful
Windrush Day funding bid successful

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has awarded a grant of £17,949 to the council's Cultural Services Team to support an education of the Windrush generation.

First officially recognised as a day of celebration in 2017, Windrush Day takes place on 22 June each year to mark the anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush on 22 June 1948. According to records, the ship was carrying 1,027 passengers, 802 of whom gave their last country of residence as somewhere in the Caribbean; additional documented countries of residence are India, Pakistan, Kenya and South Africa.

We invite you to join us on Mansfield Market Place on Wednesday 22 June 2022, to learn about, recognise and thank all those who arrived on Empire Windrush and their descendants, for the enormous contributions they made to Britain during its recovery from the Second World War and have continued to make ever since.

The event will centre around a music and dance performance from Distant Drums. Mansfield Marketplace will come alive with the sounds and soul of the Caribbean - from Ska to calypso and grime to reggae. Distant Drums is a real crowd pleaser for the bass chasers, dance fans and history buffs and passers-by can also enjoy the unique and modern Caribbean flavours from Uncle Wayne's Jerk Station.

Thanks to the funding received for this ambitious project, the people of Nottinghamshire will be welcomed to learn more about the area’s black history and the contribution made by the Windrush generation as part of a year-long celebration in Mansfield. Delivered in partnership with The National Caribbean Heritage Museum, the project will acknowledge the academic, social, cultural and political impacts - as well unearthing hidden black history locally.

Cultural Services Manager, Sian Booth, tells us:

“Through this funding, Mansfield residents will be encouraged to learn more about the area’s black history and celebrate the local and national contribution made by the Windrush generation through a new temporary exhibition at Mansfield Museum called It Runs Through Us.

“The project will collate and give profile to existing research by Black History Ambassadors as well as undertake research to unearth hidden black history locally”.

A celebration on Windrush Day will kick start the project followed by a temporary exhibition. The exhibition will conclude with a celebration event with representatives from a cross section of Mansfield’s diverse communities. This event will acknowledge the vital contribution of immigration to the local economy and public services and the rich diversity of Mansfield’s communities over time.

Councillor Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, continues:

“Windrush Day highlights the amazing legacy of the Windrush Generation to British society. Following the Second World War, the UK was in urgent need of repair. The Windrush Generation came over, largely from the Caribbean, to undertake a variety of jobs with the purpose of rebuilding the nation. These jobs included the production of steel, coal, iron, and food, as well as roles in running public transport and staffing the National Health Service (NHS). Windrush Day also shines a light on how the Windrush Generation laid the foundations for the Black British society we know today”.

The purpose of Windrush Day is to encourage communities across the country to celebrate the contributions made by the Windrush Generation, and their descendants, and thank all those involved for rebuilding this society. While Windrush Day is a day of celebration, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the difficulties faced by the Windrush Generation – past and present.

Communities Minister Kemi Badenoch said:

“The legacy of the Windrush generation means so much to so many. As a first-generation immigrant myself, I understand personally how important it is to highlight how much we welcome and celebrate the contributions made by those who choose to make Britain home.

“Thanks to our funding, events like it Runs Through Us will take place on 22 June, helping us to remember the leading role the Windrush Generation and their descendants have played in making Britain stronger, culturally richer and more inclusive.”

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

“I am delighted that we have been able to fund 35 excellent projects from across the country for the fourth annual National Windrush Day on June 22nd to celebrate the outstanding contributions that the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made, and continue to make, to British Society.

“This year we are encouraging new, innovative proposals to share the Windrush story and reach out to people in diverse local communities. In doing so, we can ensure projects will impact history, education and celebration in a meaningful way.”

Do you have a story to tell about the Windrush generation?

Please get in touch, we’d love to collect this fascinating heritage and preserve it for years to come.

Could you be a Black History Ambassador?

We’re looking for residents who have an interest in black history, Caribbean culture or allyship to join as Black History Ambassadors for this project. You don’t have to be of African or Caribbean heritage or a history buff, and it’s not a big commitment. All that we ask is that you’re able to support each other and the project - get involved where you can.

Contact Sian on 01623 412951 or sbooth@mansfield.gov.uk to get involved.

Published: May 20th 2022