The Leeds-based housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise has launched its exhibition showcasing the Windrush Generation’s contribution to business and social reform in the city.
This Tuesday 22 June on Windrush Day 2021, the landlord launched its The Windrush Project exhibition at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown after securing government funding for it earlier this year.
A limited number of guests were invited to a scaled down preview of the exhibition after the government’s recent extension of COVID-19 restrictions ruled out a planned full launch.
The exhibition is now expected to be open to the public from Tuesday 20 July until 15 December 2021, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
Cy Powell, a Unity Enterprise board member who came to the UK from Jamaica in 1966 and features prominently in The Windrush Project, said: “It is fantastic to see the exhibition ready to go.
“Unity’s history and progress as a community-focused organisation with a strong social purpose is rooted in the Windrush Generation. I am proud that Unity has stepped forward to enable these stories to be told.”
Produced in collaboration with Leeds Trinity University, the Windrush Project features a series of interviews with local Windrsuh reformers.
It also features a photographic display illustrating the growth and diversity of Leeds Windrush businesses and their positive impact on local communities.
The films were produced by Leeds Trinity’s final year journalism students under the guidance of Katherine Blair, the university’s senior professional practice fellow and broadcast journalism programme leader.
The project is being supported by funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Windrush Day Grant Scheme.
Cedric Boston, Unity’s interim chief executive, said: “Whilst it was disappointing not to be able to open our doors to the public on Windrush Day itself, it was a privilege to welcome a small number of guests who were so important in helping us put the exhibition together.
“We are immensely grateful to Katherine and her team at Leeds Trinity for producing the inspirational videos.
“Alongside the photographic display, they provide a truly fascinating insight into the life experiences of local Windrush Generation descendants who play such a critical role in everyday community and business life in Leeds.”
Blair said: “After such a difficult year for our students where much of their work had to be done online, I jumped at the offer of doing these interviews with people in the Chapeltown community. Everyone we interviewed had such rich stories to tell. They were so generous with their time and their memories.
“It was an absolute pleasure to have worked on this and the students are delighted with what they created.”
Martha Sanders, Leeds Trinity MA Journalism student and producer of the series, said: “The people we spoke to had so much to say and it was fantastic being part of the team that put the project together.
“The stories we helped to tell are so important to Leeds as a city and it was a privilege to be asked to produce the show. I hope that people who visit the exhibition find the work impactful and that we have done the amazing interviewees justice.”
Unity was established in 1987 to address the housing needs of Leeds’ black and minority ethnic communities. It now manages 1,300 homes for tenants of all backgrounds in West Yorkshire.
Image: The team behind the The Windrush Project exhibition which is due to open to the public at Unity Business Centre in Chapeltown, Leeds next month. Credit: Unity Homes & Enterprise.