A cricket club that became a cornerstone for the Caribbean community in Leicester will mark its history as part of Windrush Day 2021.
Leicester Caribbean Cricket Club was one of five Midlands-based organizations to receive funding as part of the 2021 Windrush Day Grant Scheme set up by the UK Government in November 2018.
The club was founded in 1954 and most of the founding members were of the Windrush generation who came from the Caribbean to post-war Britain where there were labor shortages.
Cricket, which is widely played in the Caribbean and one of the most popular sports in the region, meant the players had the game “in their blood,” said the chairman, George Martin.
In the 1950s, players regularly gathered in the parks of Leicester to train and play matches.
The team, mostly from the Caribbean, played at Victoria Park for 24 years before opening its own playing fields in Evington.
The club’s founding, subject to “racial barriers” at the time, helped to tackle prejudice and paved the way for future generations, as well as winning numerous sporting awards.
This year, in anticipation of the club’s 65th anniversary in 2022, the club marks its history in a new project.
Iris Lightfoote, member of the club’s organizing team and secretary of The Race Equality Centre, said: “This club was created directly as a result of racism.
“This [project] gives us the opportunity to share our history with our young people.”
Stories of Leicester’s Windrush generation and their descendants have been recorded and will be shared on social media today on Windrush Day 2021.
The Windrush Generation – named after the passenger ships, the Empire Windrush – are a generation of people from the Caribbean who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 in the post-World War II years.
At the time, the Caribbean was part of the British Commonwealth, so newcomers were free to live and work in the UK.
As post-war Britain was short of workers and had to rebuild the economy, the prospect of employment was one of the main reasons people came to the country.
Many newcomers worked as manual labourers, nurses and other sectors affected by the labor shortage.
Some also became prominent figures within their respective communities, forging new paths and paving the way for future generations.
The Windrush scandal
In 2018, the Windrush scandal surfaced when it emerged that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens – many of the Windrush generation – had been wrongfully deported and detained or threatened with deportation.
Despite working and living in the UK for many years, many people were told they were in the country illegally because there was no official paperwork.
The coverage of people’s stories shocked the country and sparked a wide-ranging debate on Britain’s immigration policy.
The then Prime Minister, Theresa May, apologized for the treatment hundreds of people faced.
A compensation scheme was put in place and an investigation into the scandal was launched, with a 2020 report showing the scandal was avoidable.
Many people are still waiting for compensation from the scheme and British celebrities, including comedian Lenny Henry, recently signed a petition to make urgent changes to the scheme.
Windrush Day, which is marked annually, was introduced in the UK in 2018 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration.
They will also be documented in a special publication called ‘Bringing a piece of home’, which will highlight how the club is tackling racism and social divides and providing space for the community.
The publication will be promoted during Leicester’s Caribbean Carnival and other Black History events in the city. In addition, a school aid is being created.
One of the final elements of the project will be a commemorative plaque being created to recognize the contributions of the Windrush generation to Leicester’s sports scene. At this time, it has not been confirmed where the plaque will be placed.
Earlier this year, the club announced that former West Indian player, Sir Clive Lloyd, had joined the club as a patron.
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