By Heather Norris Nicholson
Planting has now officially begun in the Windrush Anniversary Garden at Springwood.
Undeterred by the recent rain and the backlog of tasks caused by the Covid-19 crisis, members of Landscaping staff from Kirklees Parks & Landscape Architects (Kirklees Council) have been busy planting and creating new flower beds around the base of the ventilation tower.
Stepping stones that have been kindly provided by Johnsons-Wellfield Ltd, a local quarry company based in Crosland Moor, are also now on site.
The artwork is not yet ready due to the lockdown, and orders for planters and seating are still held up in warehouses.
The garden may not yet be a blaze of colour quite yet, but it’s good to have a few things ready for Windrush Day today (22nd June).
Windrush Day was held for the first time in 2018 to acknowledge African Caribbean peoples’ contribution to Britain, particularly over the past seventy years since the arrival of economic migrants on the Empire Windrush and other ships after the Second World War.
More recent experiences are in people’s minds as Windrush Day 2020 approaches, including Covid-19’s heavy toll on people from ethnic minorities, the enduring pain for families and communities affected by London’s Grenfell Tower fire, and the lessons not learned from the Windrush Scandal.
Added to that is the international response to the brutal murder of George Floyd in the United States and the calls for action to end racist violence and policing practices.
The Black Lives Matter Campaign has seen support in rallies and protests, the floodlighting of buildings and the long-awaited return of the Premier League with its sombre minute’s silence, kneeling players and match officials, and the BLM shirts.
Where does a Windrush Anniversary Garden fit amidst of all this? Its purpose is to remember, thank and acknowledge past lives and endeavours.
But, unlike a statue, it is also alive and able to grow, respond and change over time with the love, care and interests of those who visit and enjoy it.
Perhaps the Windrush Anniversary Garden may bring healing and understanding too?
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to support such an important project.
“In Kirklees our biggest strength is our diversity and this is something we have to celebrate as often and as loud as we can.
“The Windrush Generation came to us when we needed them, they helped us to rebuild the country after it had been devastated by World War Two but they did so much more than that.
“The culture and diversity that generation gave us truly changed the whole country for the better and they’re a huge part of what makes Huddersfield and Kirklees the great place it is today.”
People are invited to visit the in-progress site, both now as part of Windrush Day 2020, and in the future, as we look forward to its completion.