A socially distanced, community led Windrush Celebration took place in Gravesend on Wednesday 23rd June. The event was a community initiative arranged by Cohesion Plus, the North Kent Caribbean Network and the Kent Equality Cohesion Council.

The celebrations took place at the Old Gravesendians and was attended by elders from the Windrush generation as well as civic guests including Deputy Lord Lieutenant Dr Bhagwara Vasudaven, Kent County Council Chair Cllr Ann Allen as well as the Mayor of Gravesham Cllr Lyn Milner.

The sun shone on the proceedings as elders heard speeches by Gurvinder Sandher of Cohesion Plus and Michelle Bramble, Chair of the North Kent Caribbean Network as well as the civic guests in attendance who all congratulated the Windrush generation and following generations on the countless positive contributions they have made to the UK. Both Gurvinder and Michelle mentioned that it was important to host the event in person as the country eased out of lockdown, sentiments that were echoed by all in attendance.

Gurvinder Sandher, Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented, “Given the year we have all had, and that the country will look to be fully vaccinated soon, we felt it was necessary to return to some semblance of normality and host an event in person. The fact that we were able to begin with Windrush Celebrations felt poignant as it’s a chance to celebrate diversity and community cohesion as well champion key members of the community. It is widely recognised that the pandemic has had a harrowingly disproportionate impact of diverse community which made celebrating the achievements of those very communities all the more vital. We are incredibly grateful to Michelle Bramble and the members of NKCN for their partnership as well as Arts Council England for their continued support.”

Michelle Bramble, the Chair of the North Kent Caribbean Network said, “I was incredibly proud to a part of these community celebrations. Sadly, over time we seem to have forgotten that the Windrush generation were actually invited to the UK to help rebuild the ‘motherland’ so it’s imperative that we remember the countless sacrifices and hardships they have had to endure over many years and celebrate their positive contributions. If you look at North Kent for example, the Windrush generation and their descendants have contributed to all facets of everyday life from health, education, business, art, sport and culture. This year was particularly poignant as a number of our members have passed away over this last year.”