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Celebrating Liverpool's Windrush generation

Home Truths: Liverpool actors Kel Nkondock and Dorcas Sebuyange in a scene from Marjorie Morgan's Windrush play Home from Home.

LIVERPOOL will premiere a major new play this week as part of a series of celebrations and reflections about the City's Windrush Generation. Home from Home has been penned by City based playwright Marjorie Morgan and looks at the turbulent recent events of the 'hostile environment.' The play tells the story of a Liverpool woman who enjoys a celebrated career in the NHS, but also faces the threat of deportation after being caught up in the Windrush scandal.

The  premiere was at the Liverpool's Blackburne House, on Friday, 28 June 2019, as part of a weekend of events aimed at celebrating and recognising the huge contributions made to the City by our Commonwealth members.

Liverpool City Council's Mayoral Lead for Race and Equality, Cllr Anna Rothery, said:- "The UK made a call to action to our Windrush and Commonwealth British citizens and they came when asked to work in our NHS, housing, public transport and helped to rebuild the infrastructure at great sacrifice, often leaving families and children behind in order to respond to the call. We owe our Windrush and Common wealth British citizens a huge debt of gratitude. Liverpool City Council is proud to be funding the celebrations. It is also a time to reflect on recent events which have seen members of this community, who responsed to the call to action to help re-build our nation, face the grim spectre of unjust deportation after a lifetime of devotion to their adopted home."

The Empire Windrush was the 1st of a number of ships that transported British members of the Commonwealth from the Caribbean Islands and across the globe to London and Liverpool in 1948. More than 70 years on, the City will once again celebrate the newcomers that brought so much with them, through a series of special events.

Liverpool City Council's Mayoral Lead for Race and Equality, Cllr Anna Rothery, has spearheaded a City wide project to keep the memory of Windrush alive.

Home from Home Author Marjorie Morgan said:- "I have been writing about Windrush for some time now and this is a story that I thought would both celebrate and show the truth of the reality that some people are stuck in. It is like people have a dual identity, on one hand they are happy to be British and on the other they are not sure if they are British because people are telling them they are not. So this indication what reality is like for many people with a Commonwealth background. We are all Windrush. This affects all of us, it's about all of us."

Earlier this year, a partnership consisting of Blackburne House, The Steve Biko Housing Association and Writing on the Wall, successfully bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for funding to host the celebration. The award was match funded by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson's City Fund. Since then the partners have been working on a stunning series of events that will pay a fitting tribute to the Windrush Generation as well as exploring some of the issues they still face today.

Andrea Rushton, Director, Blackburne House, said:- "As a women's organisation and an educator of women for over 35 years in Liverpool, it is essential that the legacy of the Windrush generation and their female descendants are recorded and heard. Those voices and achievements should be remembered, celebrated and learned from. Our calendar of events and shared project launch with Writing on the Wall, Liverpool City Council and Steve Biko Housing Association is what Liverpool does best; collaboration, commemoration and celebration."

On Friday, 28 June 2019, the premiere of specially commissioned play Home From Home, written by Liverpool Biennial writer in residence Majorie H Morgan took place. The production was followed by a celebrated panel discussing the Windrush hostile environment with a question and answer session.

Whilst on Saturday, 29 June 2019, Faulkner Square Park, in Toxteth, plays host to a special family fun day. The event, which runs from noon to 6pm, promises a feast of live music headlined by the international Queen of Lovers Rock Carroll Thompson. There will also be performances from the likes of Levi Tafari, Steele Pan Duo, Caribbean Regals and Maxine Brown's Riddim and Roots. There will plenty of arts, crafts, food, fun and games to keep everyone entertained.

Tracey Gore Director of Steve Biko Housing Association, said:- "We are really happy that the Liverpool City Council's City Fund have supported Steve Biko Housing Association to lead on the collaborative work with Writing on the Wall, Blackburne House, and individual local and national contributors who will be taking part at the key event at Falkner Square Park, on Saturday, 29 June 2019. Last year we delivered a smaller scale event for Windrush 70th Anniversary, with calls for a larger event to happen this year, which we are delivering on. This event will bring together people connected to the Windrush era and local residents for a fantastic day of education, commemoration and celebration."

The day will also see the launch of Writing on the Wall's special musical heritage project; From SS Orbita to Orbital. The Orbita was one of the sister ships of the Windrush which arrived in Liverpool. The project looks at the Windrush Generation's last influence on the British music scene.

Writing on the Wall Co-ordinator Madeline Heneghan, added:- "Windrush Legacy Days are the perfect opportunity for our diverse communities to celebrate and to be inspired by the wealth of talent that will be showcased in Faulkner Square and the creative projects that will be launched on the day. In the light of the ongoing Windrush scandal, these initiatives are hugely important."

Whilst Blackburne House will also launch an exciting new documentary film project entitled Children of the Windrush Generation which traces the descendants of the 68 men from the Windrush who settled Liverpool.

More details about the Windrush to Liverpool events can be found on the Writing on the Wall website.

Make way for MakeFest

Shaker Maker: A scene from last year's MakeFest.

LOOKING for a creative way to spend your weekend? Then look no further than Liverpool Central Library, because this Saturday, 29 June 2019, it will be bursting with bright sparks and brilliant ideas. The hugely popular MakeFest gathering is returning to the City and this time around it's promising to be bigger and better than ever.

Now in its fifth year, MakeFest has grown from modest beginnings into a technological tour de force which attracts makers, creators, artists and musicians from all across the UK. The event will take place across all floors of Central Library and will even spill outside, weather permitting.

Starting at 9am, the fest will see a free day of fun for all the family with workshops on everything from wand making to knitting and from robots to rockets. In total, more than 100 makers will be showing their stuff across four floors of the library.

Denise said:- "We originally had the idea to stage a small creative technology event and we are delighted to say that it has now become 1 of the biggest and brightest art, science, digital and technology fusion festivals around.  MakeFest is all about de-mystifying the world of science and technology and making them accessible and fun for everyone. Whatever your level of knowledge or skill, MakeFest is a completely inclusive event and there will be plenty for everyone to get involved with."

Top attractions will include; a world record breaking attempt to create the tallest ever 3D printed rocket and a look into the future with a special session exploring life in the year 2049.

There will also be a chance to get up close and personal with everyone's favourite galaxy conquering dustbin - Doris the Dalek, who has been let out of BBC Radio Merseyside's TARDIS for 1 day only.

Liverpool MakeFest 2019 will also see the launch of Liverpool's own iDEA Award. Part of the Liverpool Digital City initiative, the iDEA programme helps people develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free through a series of online challenges and through attending events.

Those taking part can earn life enhancing badges, which in turn can lead to industry recognised awards. MakeFest will offer students, apprentices, entrepreneurs, business and community leaders the chance to sign up to the iDEAs programme and take up some of the challenges on the day.

Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet Member for Business, Economy and Skills, Cllr Gary Millar added:- "Events like MakeFest are extremely important for the future of our City. In fact, originally it was my fascination for computers that brought me to this great City. Therefore, I know 1st hand that making technology interactive and fun can help ignite a spark in young and older. This could be the beginning of your very own journey of discovery and excitement.  I believe that Liverpool is striving to be at the cutting edge of growing and nurturing new talent in tech related industries. We also want to attract the best and brightest from across the globe to come and do business in our City. The more local 'makers' we have, the better our City will fare. You will have the opportunity this weekend to find that MakeFest is your perfect introduction to the exciting world of technology, gadgets, games, robots, craft and advice."

Other attractions on the day include a Women in Science Exhibition in the Hornby Library as part of the Liverpool RISE programme and a Mission to the Moon showcase by Liverpool Astronomical society.

Liverpool's MakeFest runs from 9am to 5pm, on Saturday, 29 June 2019, at the Central Library. You can find a full list of activities at:- LiverpoolMakeFest.Org

Liverpool's MakeFest was the brainchild of TES Teacher of the Year Caroline Keep, Liverpool John Moores University Senior Lecturer Dr Mark Feltham and Denise Jones of Liverpool Libraries.

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