Many Caribbean people served during the war in the British Armed Forces. After World War II ended in 1945, Britain needed help to rebuild and so people from Caribbean Commonwealth countries were asked to move to the UK to help rebuild Britain and start a new life. The Windrush Generation helped make Britain what it is today and they worked in a range of areas.
In 2018, the then Prime Minister asked Baroness Floella Benjamin to chair the Windrush Commemoration Committee, which was tasked with creating a permanent and fitting tribute to the Windrush Generation and their descendants. The Windrush Commemoration Committee is made up of influential black voices from the UK and many have a direct, personal connection to the Windrush Generation.
After an extensive search for an artist, Basil Watson was awarded the commission to design the National Windrush Monument. Based between Jamaica and Atlanta, Basil is a prolific sculptor and painter who has created a number of high-profile public monuments in the Caribbean and the USA.
The first £500,000 grant scheme was launched in 2019 and has had four iterations, including 2022, so far. These have delivered over 150 projects.
Projects have taken place across England and have involved wide ranging events and activities, such as art exhibitions, social media campaigns, drama performances and oral histories. This year’s scheme, which was open to charities, community groups and local authorities, has a focus on innovative and exciting proposals.