IGMT celebrates Windrush Day 2024

On Saturday 22 June, Windrush Day 2024, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust hosted a special event, in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council, Mind and One Voice and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to honour a Caribbean member of the local community who has contributed to the development of Telford and Shropshire.

This year’s event, the first of its kind held by the Trust, a heritage conservation and education charity, honoured Joy Scott.

Joy moved to Telford from Jamaica aged 11. Her early years in Telford were marked by racism at school. However, Joy went on to find her voice and become an advocate for inclusion and the teaching of black history in education.

Joy was initially a nurse, but later began working at the West Indian Cultural Centre in Hadley where she initiated a Saturday school to provide additional education for young black people in Telford. She also went out into local schools and shared Jamaican folklore, like Anansi stories, and cultural practices, with activities such as culinary demonstrations. She later worked at Wellington Police Station and enacted changes within the police force.

At the special event, two young people who have recently participated in a new series of events for teenagers run by the Trust presented Joy with flowers to thank her for her tireless efforts and the profound impact she has made on her local community. The attendees celebrated Joy’s achievements with a typical Caribbean Sunday dinner, provided by Lola’s Kitchen, as well as music from DJ Panyaza, currently producing the mid-morning show on BBC Radio 1Xtra, and a performance by Trademark Blud, a rapper who has appeared on BBC TV, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6 Music.

Andrea Nelson, Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “Saturday’s event was about learning and preserving the stories of our elders, and remembering how it was for them to leave their beloved (and hot!) countries to come to England to work, go to school and bring up families in this new and cold country.

“Joy Scott remains a vital figure in our community today, actively engaging with the older generation and fostering ongoing conversations about black history. Joy’s unwavering dedication to making a difference and improving community cohesion stands as a testament to her spirit and commitment. We are honoured to be able to show our appreciation to Joy for everything she has done.”

Karen Davies, Museum Development Director at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “As a museum our main purpose is to collect, preserve and interpret stories, artefacts and objects which capture the history of our area, and to provide a space where stories can be told, shared and studied. We have a collective responsibility to acknowledge legacies of the past, and to build a more inclusive and supportive community that respects everyone.

“As an education charity we are in a position to help foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of human history and creativity; we aim to inspire, engage, and inform. Today we salute and honour perseverance, strength and courage, and remember cultural contributions which have profoundly enriched our society.”

From Wednesday 21 to Friday 23 August, IGMT will be hosting an event at the Museum of the Gorge where members of the Telford Caribbean community will be able to bring their original documents such as letters, photos and passports to be scanned and logged then presented on ‘Back A Yard’ boards, as part of an initiative developed in the West Midlands by Dr Pedro Cravinho at Birmingham City University to collate information about the Caribbean community.

Picture shows Joy Scott at the Windrush Day event. 

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