Connect Hackney

Today is Windrush Day – 22 June. It’s a chance to look again at the ‘Windrush: Stories of a Hackney Generation’ booklet produced by Connect Hackney in 2018.

In 2018 Connect Hackney ran a media project about Windrush, to record and celebrate the stories and contribution to UK society of the Windrush generation who had arrived between the late 1940s and the early 1970s, invited by the government to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.

Connect Hackney is one of 14 programmes across England funded by The National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘Fulfilling Lives, Ageing Better programme. Within Connect Hackney we run a media group where Hackney residents aged 50+ receive training in computers, photography, interviewing and writing skills. Many of the participants in the group are aged in their 70s and 80s and many are learning to use digital technology for the very first time.

Members of the media group brought in photos of themselves and their families from over the years which got everyone talking and reminiscing.

Common themes emerged through storytelling, including places of work, in particular the many clothes factories in Hackney at the time and the NHS, how dirty and smoggy London was in earlier years, and the hostility and racism that was experienced over the years up until and including the recent Windrush scandal.

The stories were recorded in a commemorative booklet which you can download here.  They were also recorded as a series of podcasts.

Windrush: Stories of a Hackney Generation

As well as learning, members produce stories, photography, and audio for the Connect Hackney website and for our quarterly Hackney Senior magazineThe media group has been running for six years now. They also produced the content for a stand alone media project – Windrush: Stories of a Hackney Generatio

“When I first see London I say ‘Oh, this is London, the Queen’s country?’ I find it very dirty. But I didn’t find it hard to adjust, because when I come, I come with the sunshine in my bones still, so I wasn’t feeling cold you know!” Janet Nickie

In the publication, Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, wrote: “Economically, socially and culturally the Windrush generation have made their contributions, for which they will be cherished.” 

The project was launched in partnership with Hackney Council at a Caribbean Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. There was an evident sense of pride and enjoyment from the group in documenting their stories and seeing them launched to a live audience.

“I got the life I wanted in London, very much so. London is just London. And Hackney, more than all, is lovely. I love Hackney so much – it’s the people.” Olive Johnson

Download booklet here: