The 75th Anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush

Earlier this year BLCF with its funding partners launched the Bedfordshire Cultural Support Fund to commemorate the historic 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain on 22nd June 1948.

We wanted to celebrate the legacy of the Windrush Generation and the profound impact they had on our society.

The aim of the fund was to provide vital resources and financial backing to the local arts and cultural sector. We wanted to help individuals and organisations bring forth inspiring projects that reflected the diverse voices and rich heritage of Bedfordshire. To take part you just needed to be a participant with at least one art forms, whether it be music, dance, literature, museum and library activities, theatre, visual arts, combined arts, and festivals.

This funding program became a beacon of hope for artists and creatives in Bedfordshire, supporting their journeys of exploration, expression, and collaboration. With the support of Arts Council England (ACE) and our incredible donors, the Bedfordshire Cultural Support Fund opened doors for exciting artistic ventures, community-driven initiatives, and collaborations.

Bedfordshire is bursting with different cultures, and through our initiative, we wanted to shout out for the underrepresented communities, by providing a platform for their stories and perspectives to be heard and celebrated. We wanted to build bridges, break down barriers, and create a stronger, more inclusive society for everyone.

We are thrilled to confirm that the Bedfordshire Cultural Support Fund has supported the work of 7 different groups across Luton, and 3 groups across Bedford.

We could not be prouder of the outcome from the team onboard, everyone who applied and the generous donors, who supported the groups.

Celebrating Windrush at Marsh Farm

Marsh Farm Futures celebrated the 75th anniversary of the arrival of H.M.S.Windrush last month, with a celebration of Caribbean culture in the UK. There were hat-making workshops for children from two local schools, run by hat designer Rowan who shared his personal journey as a designer, speaking of how his Caribbean heritage influenced his designs and branding. After learning about hat-making, the children designed and painted their own bucket hats. The 86 young people who attended were inspired by Rowan’s journey and interested to learn more about Luton’s heritage as a hat making city.

The hats were displayed at the Windrush celebration event at Futures House on 24th June. On the day a live DJ  set a strong beat playing Caribbean music through stacked speakers. There were outdoor games and Caribbean fusion food, as well as the hat exhibition inside, and an amazing display of carnival costumes, a personal history display from Luton Adult Learning, heritage project from Mary Seacole Housing Association, general information about the Windrush generation and a children’s corner as well as stalls from local organisations.

Marsh Farm Futures received funding from the Bedfordshire Cultural Support Fund for these activities which were planned in partnership with 75RUSH.