Steel bands, food tasting and an exhibition illuminating the working lives and experiences of members of the Caribbean community feature at events to mark Windrush Day.
Merton is to host events to honour the outstanding contribution made by the Caribbean community to the borough and the UK as a whole, from Friday 21 June until Sunday 23 June. Merton Council is backing national Windrush Day, on June 22, which marks the day in 1948 when the first 500 migrants from the West Indies arrived on MV Empire Windrush.
Everyone is invited to enjoy the celebrations which feature an exhibition at Merton Heritage Centre, located at Merton Heritage Centre, Morden Library in Merton Civic Centre from Friday 17 June until Saturday 20 July. The display highlights the contribution made by the Caribbean community from the work they took on, to help rebuild the post-war British economy, as nurses and transport workers to roles ranging from politicians, actors, musicians and sportsmen.
Merton Council’s heritage service is also seeking members of the Windrush Generation for a reminiscence filming project to capture their stories and experiences for future generations. The film will be available for schools and community groups later in the year. Heritage staff are also producing a resource pack for local schools, to support learning particularly during Black History Month in October.
Pandemonium, a steel band comprised of talented Stanford Primary School children are to perform outside the Civic Centre as part of the Schools Celebration on Friday 21 June from 10am until noon. Other attractions for the morning include a performance of Farewell Calypso sung by school children, Caribbean storytelling sessions and a display of winning entries from a poster competition.
Caribbean food tasting is to be held as part of the Windrush Day Community Celebration, at Morden Library on Saturday 22 June from 12.30pm until 4.40pm. Highlights of the afternoon are set to include performances from community steel band Panash outside the civic centre. There will be an interactive workshop tracing British/Caribbean historical links and the chance to hear about people’s migration experiences.
To round off the celebrations an Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service is to be held on Sunday 23 June at St Barnabas Church in Gorringe Park Avenue in Mitcham from 4pm until 6pm. The service will be followed by refreshments.
Cabinet Member for Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Community Safety, Councillor Edith Macauley MBE, said: “We are delighted to be hosting these events to honour the outstanding contribution the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made to our borough and the UK as a whole.”
“From the historical displays illuminating people’s lives, the interactive workshop and of course the music, singing and food of the Caribbean there’s going to be something for everyone to enjoy.”
“It is hugely important that we back the aims of Windrush Day to recognise the important legacy of the Windrush Generation in our cultural and economic life to ensure we continue to recognise and celebrate our diverse shared history.”
“Merton Council successfully bid for a grant of £16,000 from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Church Urban Fund which was allocated for Windrush Day events across the country.”
Merton Council is urging any residents, who have suffered from not having the documentation to prove they are in the country legally, to claim compensation from the Government’s scheme. The scheme is for those who came to the UK from the Caribbean or any other Commonwealth country between 1948 and 1973.
For more information on the Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/windrush-compensation-scheme