Why Sheffield’s first African-Caribbean market 'means a lot' for the city’s African-Caribbean community

Sheffield’s African-Caribbean community hopes people in the city will ‘embrace change’ and help build ‘a stronger community’ when the first African-Caribbean market takes place this October for Black History Month.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 11:42 am

The week-long event is being organised by Adira, in partnership with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Property Association, Sheffield Business Together, amongst others.

Members of Sheffield’s African-Caribbean community who are involved with the market have described it as ‘a long time coming’ and hope to see it evolve into an annual celebration in the city.

Yvonne Wray, chair of Action Collective - a charity that helps the African diaspora community, with a focus on education and identity - told how the festival is ‘an opportunity to remember the Windrush generation’ and to honour the sacrifices they made for future generations.

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Sheffield's first African-Caribbean market is organised by Adira, in partnership with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Property Association, Sheffield Business Together, amongst others. Pictured in Sheffield Winter Gardens are (L-R): Ruth McDonald, Kate Josephs, Richard Eyre, Karen Hill, Martin McKervey and Ursula Myrie.

She said: “The Windrush years are a significant part of history - a time that changed the UK forever. Our parents and grandparents were invited here to build up this country after the war.

“Enoch Powell, the health minister in 1960 to 1963, invited Caribbean nurses to come to work for the National Health Service, and many accepted the invitation to come to England.

“However, on April 20, 1968, Powell changed his mind, hence the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. Jamaica was colonised by the British in 1655 and gained so-called independence on August 6, 1962.

“England was known as the ‘Mother Country’ in Jamaica and many of our parents came here with the understanding that they would work for five years and return home. Five years turned into 10 years, 10 years turned into 20 years. In that time, many of our parents had children like me born in the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s.”

Yvonne Wray, chair of Action Collective.

Yvonne explained how, despite experiencing racism on a regular basis, her parents and others’ parents still managed to build ‘a strong Caribbean culture community over the years’.

She has praised Ursula Myrie from Adira for “having the courage and foresight” to bring organisations together to create the event.

Yvonee added: “We are hopeful that the people of Sheffield can continue to embrace change, building a stronger community.”

Kevin Scott, chairman and a founder of Unity Project Sheffield - an organisation that seeks to unite, inspire, and encourage the black community in Sheffield to work actively together - will be in charge of festival activities in the Moor Market and told how Sheffield’s first African-Caribbean market “means a lot”.

Kevin Scott, chairman and a founder of Unity Project Sheffield.

He said: “I personally think it means a lot. It gives a reason for people to gather and enjoy each others’ company. With it being the first time, it’s also nice to have something new, that’s not just the same.

“It’s good for many reasons. For example, children will get to see what our culture offers and they don’t get many opportunities to see that.

“There are so many reasons. It will make black people in Sheffield feel like we are important, that we do mean something to the city, that we’ve been taken into consideration.”

The African-Caribbean market will take place from Monday, October 25 to Saturday, October 30, from 10am to 6pm on Fargate, and 8am-5.30pm at the Moor Market.