JIS News

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK), Gail Mathurin has said that Jamaican and other Caribbean organizations in the UK should educate the younger generation about the true Caribbean heritage. The High Commissioner was speaking on Saturday (September 17), at the special 30th anniversary dinner of the Ipswich Caribbean Association.
“I am particularly pleased that some of your projects involve teaching Caribbean history and culture and that the stories of the first Caribbean migrants to Ipswich are being chronicled and preserved for the education and enjoyment of future generations. It is also good that you are passing on such skills as playing the steel drums to your children and grandchildren,” Miss Mathurin told the audience.
“It is invaluable that we pass on to our young people a true sense of their Caribbean heritage and not some skewed version of it, gleaned from the media and from less well informed individuals,” she added.High Commissioner Mathurin said she was proud of the work of the organization and that it epitomised the kind of coming together and integration that was important and essential for the overall development of Caribbean people.
The Ipswich Caribbean Association was formed in 1975, when the early members used to meet in each other’s homes on a regular basis. As the membership increased and the homes became too crowded, the founding members in 1978 approached Ipswich Borough Council for suitable premises, in which a centre could be located.
The International Community Centre was officially opened in 1980 and was financed with the support of Ipswich Borough Council together with an urban aid grant.
Following a refurbishment in 1986, the centre was re-opened and renamed the Ipswich Caribbean Association International Community Centre. A nine-member management team was also appointed.
The association has initiated many projects, including the Saturday School, a project aimed at introducing the young people to their history and heritage. There is a Back to Work Project to help people get back to work and to increase their learning and skills. The association is particularly pleased with the success of its Lunch Club for senior citizens that is sponsored by Suffolk County. There is also the Befriending Service, which is a free service that links friendly, trained volunteers with older people from the African Caribbean community.
The association’s Music School is funded by Learning Skills Council, Northgate Foundation and Suffolk County Council. This project was set up to pass on traditional music skills, including steel drums. The group’s most recent project is the Ipswich Caribbean Experience, which is about preserving the personal accounts of the early Caribbean migrants to Ipswich during the 1950s and 1960s for everyone to use and enjoy.