The Windrush Generation

During our research, several people have discussed the Windrush generation. This included the arrival of the Windrush Generation, their hard work, the discrimination they received in the past and the hostile environment the Windrush Generation have recently been living with due to Home Office policies.

Leaya explained why she thought the Race Relations Act’s were introduced and how it was created to protect communities such as the Windrush Generation. “Due to racism!… Around that time, probably before that, there was a lot of racism going on anyway. ( ? ) coming over, Windrush etc. So, I think maybe at that time, it got to a point of actually, we do need to protect different races and different cultures that are coming into the country and just have something for them, really in a sense of protection.” Leaya Collymore (Interviewed 07 September 2017)

Cynthia Bailey reflected on how local communities were unhappy when the Windrush Generation first arrived, but that they later grew to accept them. “I like to be positive and think [positively about] the future. When the Caribbeans first came in the Windrush and then, of course, the Idi Amin [refugees], we had the Asians come into the town. There was disquiet. Local people weren’t happy about it originally and there were problems. But then it settled down and they’re really, for the very most part, accepted parts of the community and I hope that will happen with the Eastern Europeans in time. I hope Brexit doesn’t upset it.” Cynthia Bailey (Interviewed 27 November 2017)

Clyde Lesley is the Chairman of Wellingborough African-Caribbean Association. He raised concerns about the way the Windrush Generation were being treated like illegal immigrants during his interview in 2017 before the Windrush Scandal hit national headlines in spring 2018. “Look! We are a group of studious people. We [Black people] were invited into this country, post-Windrush generation, came here, delivered services, worked hard and I feel that a lot more could be done to help them.

Right now, one of the problems I have is the 26 Citizens Act, or what you call… But it’s where Black people who have been in this country for like 60, 70 years – Some of them have not even been back to the Caribbean. What I’m hearing is that people will all of a sudden decide to go and visit someone from the Caribbean. And coming back they have issues!

The Immigration Act 2016. There are lots of issues with that. What has been happening, as I say, people have been going, coming back, getting problems at Immigration Control. They were not told what they had to do to make their status sort of legal. But then all of [a] sudden, they are having to stump up 9, £1200, just to get their papers up to date. Now to me, that can’t be right!

Working in this organisation, which is the Wellingborough African-Caribbean Association, our remit is to educate our people. However, when you have someone who is 50, 60, 70 years old who has delivered from when they were in their early teens. it’s really difficult that they find themselves in this position right now, where they are having to fork out such vast amounts of money because they were not told what needed doing in the past.

So there are loads of issues affecting the Black community. So what we really have to do is to gear ourselves up and put in place the relevant information so that they can access what needs to be done.” Clyde Lesley (Interviewed 15 August 2017)