The African Caribbean Centre is established to meet the latent and express needs of the African Caribbean Community. The centre will provide a focal point for community activities, initiatives and enterprise culture. Through regular consultation, the Centre will seek to represent the views of the African Caribbean community. A range of services and activities will be offered and designed to be responsive, culturally relevant, delivered and managed effectively to a high standard. The African Caribbean Centre will aim to meet the needs of the African Caribbean Community through key activities and services focusing on heritage, social justice, economic prosperity, environmental quality, and regeneration. These will be achieved through a number of initiatives. The impact on the African Caribbean community will be to:
- Create a sense of belonging
- Improve self-esteem
- Promote social inclusion
- Wealth Creation
- Engage effectively in the broader community
- Create role models
- Have a greater sense of value
- Encourage positive action in the African Caribbean community
After extensive research, it was conclude that to achieve the above and for the future development of the African Caribbean Centre, resources should be concentrated in the following areas: –
People of African Caribbean heritage have been present in Britain in a significant number for over 50 years. A report by Rampton (1981) Gilbourne and Gipps (1996) and others have identified serious concerns about the extent of which schools were failing to meet the needs of young people of African Caribbean Heritage.
The African Caribbean Centre will be a safe and welcoming environment and a resource facility where young people will be able to receive support to express their cultural needs and aspirations.
In addition, they will have positive role models and will learn from their elders. The African Caribbean Centre will collaborate with others groups and organizations that share our ethos and vision. The African Caribbean Centre will form links with Youth workers within the Highfields area to support the Leicester City Council Youth Work Strategy (2002).
The African Caribbean Centre situated in Highfields, is an established area in Leicester close to the City Centre and railway station.
During the early 1950s, some Black ex-servicemen and many workers from the Caribbean settled in the Highfields, drawn by the opportunities for work to rebuild the country. Although the 1991 census data showed that Highfields had a considerable African Caribbean population, since then, for social, economic and political reasons the community has dispersed from Highfields and can be found across the whole of Leicestershire. Presently this area of the city is a diverse mix of many cultures. Notwithstanding this, the Highfields area is still seen as a focal point for the majority in the African Caribbean community. The African Caribbean Centre is the only venue, which caters specifically for the African Caribbean community where they can maintain a sense of identity and where their heritage is promoted in a positive light. This provides a focal point for education, celebrations and social contacts.
The centre will further develop the learning environment that will educate, build capacity, raise awareness, improve skills, inform and ensure the African Caribbean community is better empowered to address the issues affecting them. There will be a range of learning activities that will transcend all the focus areas emphasised in the four key corner stones. The aim will be to develop a centre of excellence for learning.
An established community is one that learns from the past and plan for the future knowing that taking risk is an integral part of the process of overcoming barriers. With those thoughts in mind, we believe that an important part of our strategy for the centre must be to look at schemes for generating wealth that will enable the centre to have self-reliance and autonomy. To this end the centre management team will consist of well-established members from the business community who have the skills and knowledge to ensures that wealth creation and retention is given equal priority with the services the centre provide for the community. This will involve making the most of the business opportunities the centre represents through the bar, the catering facilities and the renting of space, for example. In addition, other business ventures will be developed within the centre to ensure sustainability. Further, it is our intension to look for business opportunities beyond the centre that it can benefit from, develop, or create in order for the centre to expand its services to the community through financial security. This enterprise philosophy will be encouraged within the wider community through training, presentations, and collaborative partnerships.
African Caribbean Citizens Forum, Rapport Magazine, Winter Edition, 2005, p. 4.
Donated by Carol Varley: African Caribbean Citizens Forum