Windrush Day - 22 June
What is Windrush Day?
On June 22 1948, 492 workers were brought from the Caribbean to Essex’s Tilbury Docks on the Empire Windrush ship to help rebuild the United Kingdom after World War Two. Many of the Windrush generation would go on to work in, and thus support the establishment of, the newly created National Health Service (NHS).
On this day we recognise and thank all those who arrived on Empire Windrush (known as the Windrush Generation), 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 arrival of the Empire Windrush marked a seminal moment in Britain’s history and has come to represent the rich diversity of this nation.
What was the Windrush Scandal?
The Windrush immigrants to the UK were faced with intolerance from some of the British population. Despite being encouraged to settle and take up employment in the UK, many were denied access to this due to the colour of their skin.
In April 2018, the Windrush Scandal broke when it was discovered that, despite living and working in the UK for decades, many of the Windrush Generation had been told by the Government that they were in the country illegally due to a lack of official paperwork.
The Windrush Generation found themselves on the wrong side of immigration legislation because they could not provide the paperwork to prove they had the right to stay in the UK, either because they had never been given this or because the Government had destroyed their own copies of paperwork.
Many people were wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights while they struggled to provide the information required by the Government. Some are still fighting for justice.
The Windrush scandal resulted in the Government apologising for the deportation threats.
Community groups can bid for funds to celebrate the Windrush Generation and their contribution to British society. The government has funded more than 130 Windrush Day projects since 2019 and this year’s scheme encourages proposals that tell the Windrush story in unique and exciting ways.
Chair of the Windrush Community Funds and Windrush Schemes group, Paulette Simpson CBE, said:
“I am delighted that for the fifth annual National Windrush Day on June 22nd this year, the outstanding contributions that the Windrush Generation and their descendants have made, and continue to make, to British Society will again be marked through funded projects that remember and celebrate their enduring legacies.
“This year we are encouraging new, innovative and enterprising proposals to share the Windrush story and reach out to people that make up our diverse local communities. In doing so, we can ensure projects will impact history, education and celebration in a meaningful way.”
Find out more about Government funds Windrush Day 2022 celebrations here.
“We must honour the legacy of Windrush Day” – article by the Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair.