The Bexley Wellbeing Partnership and local youth charity Active Horizons are hosting a special film premiere tonight to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in Tilbury, Essex.
Young Windrush Ambassadors were recruited to film interviews with members of the Windrush Generation living in Bexley, to create a film honouring their legacy and contribution to the NHS.
They interviewed Windrush Elders living across the borough, asking about their experiences of working in the NHS. The Elders spoke of their immense pride at being part of a much-loved national service and talked about the importance of celebrating the legacy and contribution of the Windrush Generation to the NHS.
Young Windrush Ambassadors will also speak at the premiere about the project and how they intend to create a lasting legacy through the film, to ensure that Windrush voices are never forgotten. That includes visiting schools across Bexley to educate young people on the importance of the Windrush Generation and the part they played in shaping not only the NHS, but also modern multicultural Britain.
Guests at the premiere, which is taking place at Bexley Civic Centre, will also get the chance to hear from Windrush Elders on the night. They will talk about their motivations for getting involved with the project.
People from the Caribbean were invited to the UK to support rebuilding the country between 1948 and 1971. Although not all Windrush generation migrants arrived on HMT Empire Windrush, the ship became a symbol of mass-migration.
Many of those who came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation had served in the British armed forces in World War Two, and many joined the newly established NHS.
Yeukai Taruvinga, Chief Executive of Active Horizons, said: “It is an honour to work on such an important project and I have been touched by the enthusiasm of our young ambassadors. I could feel their excitement in documenting Windrush recollections over the last few months. They were fully engaged in listening to the stories and experiences of our Windrush Elders.
“Windrush is part of our history and not something we should talk about one day a year – it needs to be embedded in our cultural curriculum.”
The stories of our elders are often forgotten with each passing generation. I am hoping that this film will keep their stories alive and become a living history of how the Windrush Generation helped to shape the NHS.”
Diana Braithwaite, Chief Operating Officer, NHS South East London Integrated Care Board, said: “We are delighted to support this project that recognises the immense contribution of the Windrush Generation to the NHS.
“The NHS was built on the shoulders of immigrants like the Elders honoured in the film, and it is important that we create a lasting legacy through our young Windrush Ambassadors, who will ensure their story is told to future generations of young people living across Bexley.”
The final film will also be made available on the Bexley Wellbeing Partnership YouTube channel following the official launch.