07 Jun 2021

Raising the standard for Windrush

As a CIH member with over 35 years’ experience within the construction and housing sectors, I’ve had the privilege of working with many great people and organisations to provide equitable and relevant provisions and services. With that in mind, I’d like to share more about an exciting national project called ‘Raising the Standard for Windrush’ that I hope you and many others can get involved.

I have always been inspired by underrepresented groups and their journeys over the last eight decades. These are the pioneers now coined as the Windrush Generation; whose shoulders we are standing on. It would be remiss of me not to accolade my immediate and extended family who have established strong foundations in the UK. The arrival of my parents and siblings in the 1950s 60s and 70s from the Caribbean who nurtured a loving, respectful tight family bond while working hard in a variety of roles, from engineering the transport industry, the armed forces and the NHS. My family story is one of untold sacrifices and contributions made by people of the Caribbean and Commonwealth nations who, for many centuries, served the global British Empire now the new commonwealth. In changing times, they were invited by successive governments. Passengers arrived on the MV Windrush Empire on 22 June 1948 at Tilbury docks, London with 492 highly skilled workers, most ex-service men of WW2 with their wives and children. This is now commemorated as a monumental shift in 20th century diversification and the enhancement of British Society into the new millennium.

As a company director of Windrush Generations and Windrush National Organisation Ltd., my work is in local, national and international settings helping develop greater prospects for disadvantaged individuals, families and communities. We strive to raise awareness and defend the contributions made by the Windrush Generation who together with their descendants have made vast contributions to British culture, commerce, health, education, agriculture, retail, fashion, sports, music, politics, science, and even the housing sector.

All the above should be recognised and celebrated more, just like the epic London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle. He captured the imagination of the watching world with his creative interpretation of Britain’s transition from green pastures through centuries of change, culminating in the Windrush story and Briton’s diverse descendants living in the urban terrains and leading on the digital internet world.

The introduction of the Immigration Act of 1971 through to its changes of 1983 and 2013 has led to an ever-increasing build-up of a government hostile environment surfacing into a deep destructive tsunami resulting in a wave of public outcry in 2018 from all sides of the British political spectrum.

The verbal apologies from the government during the commonwealth summit was not enough. So it has necessitated us to navigate a course of action for justice, as we charter the seven Cs of Windrush:- Contributions, Commemorations, Celebrations, Care, Challenges, Conflicts and Change. The storms which have confronted us requires us to actively lobby governments, their departments and stakeholders to improve the circumstances of those affected by unjust policies, mistreatments and inequalities. Since 2018 we continue to hold public engagement meetings with communities, local authorities and the Home Office Windrush help teams.  We are on advisory panels to fight for change to bring about higher levels of compensation pay-outs of the Windrush schemes.

We are also working to help create a better balance for a brighter, warmer and positive environment and we are proud to be raising a nationwide flag in commemoration of the journey and contributions of the Windrush Generation on Windrush Day across the UK. This initiative of commemoration and acknowledgement is generating more interest and support each year and gaining new ground even raised at the headquarters of the Home Office, DEFRA and the MHCLG. I am certain if you delve deep into your archives and speak with your colleagues, stakeholders and customers you will hopefully reveal that the Windrush generation and their descendants have been and are still playing a positive part in your organisation’s development and growth and if not, why not? So, in preparation for Windrush Day on 22 June and beyond, we are requesting individual groups and organisations to join us in sharing your stories to support this worthwhile initiative of raising the standard for Windrush.

Find out more about how you can support Windrush Day 2021 by visiting the Windrush Generations website.

Written by Nigel Guy

Nigel Guy is company director of Windrush Generations and Windrush National Organisation Ltd.