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Promoting an awareness of African and Caribbean culture, through arts, educational and social programmes.

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Medway Lottery launched for local good causes!

We are really excited to be part of a brand new lottery for local causes in Medway. The lottery which has been launched by Medway Council to help raise much needed funds for local good causes.

60p from every £1 goes towards MACA and will help us in continuing with our much needed work across Kent and Medway.

The next draw takes place on 9th October, with a grand prize of £25,000! Click the image below to buy!

Memorial Plaque

On Thursday 15th June we were privileged to witness a historic moment. In conjunction with The Nubian Jak Community Trust, Medway Council Arts team, The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Chinara Enterprises Ltd, Medway TUC, Unite SE region, Councillor Lady Lola Magdalena Ministries, Medway Health Unison Branch and Steve Wilkins Medway TUC. We unveiled a blue plaque commemorating the lives of Chatham and William Cuffay at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Chatham Cuffay emigrated to Medway in 1772 worked at the Dockyard with the Royal Navy and his son William Cuffay, born in 1788, was a tailor with a shop in Rochester High St, who became a pioneering chartist that challenged the government of his day.

The plaque was installed last year to mark 150 years since William’s passing, however, due to Covid restrictions, the official unveiling was delayed. Those in attendance included Trustees of MACA, Dr Jak Beula and The Mayor of Medway, Councillor Jan Aldous, Chief Supt Coretta Hines, Richard Morsley, Chief Executive Historic Dockyard Chatham, and other specially invited guests. The occasion celebrated the lives of father and son and their great achievements. We are proud to continue unmasking Medway’s hidden history.

Medway African and Caribbean Association ( MACA) in partnership with the Nubian Jak memorial trust will be honouring two of Medway’s notable historical Black heroes, Chatham Cuffay, who after fleeing slavery and emigrated to Medway in 1772 worked at the Chatham Dockyard, and his son  William Cuffay, born in 1788, who was a chartist and a tailor, with a shop in Rochester High St. William, died just over 150 years ago in July 1870.

MACA contacted Dr Jak Beula, director of the Nubian Jak Memorial trust to discuss the installation of a memorial plaque in their honour.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham was chosen because of the links with Chatham Cuffay, and they felt it was an appropriate place to honor them both.

MACA held a 3 month exhibition at No 1 Smithery in 2018 of which William was featured, he was also a feature of a documentary filmed by UCA, and a play written by JD Douglas “ A Chatham Conversation”.

Chairperson of MACA Carol Stewart says of the plaque “ we are really proud to be unveiling this plaque to a family that made such a significant contribution to Medway. So much of our Black history is hidden or unknown, and without a balanced view of history that reflects all the important people who played a part in shaping it, then we will have a world where we continue to be misrepresented. Installing the plaque at the dockyard builds on the amazing work we have done with the team there in bringing to life the untold stories of Black people in Kent, and their contribution to making the dockyard more inclusive”

William started a movement that fought for the rights of workers, widely seen as the pre cursor to the Trade Union movement. The plaque was due to be unveiled last year, which was 150 years after his death, however due to COVID 19 this was postponed.

Dr Jak Beula said: Nubian Jak is pleased to be working with MACA to remember and memorialise Chatham Cuffay and his illustrious son William in the town of Medway. The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a particularly poignant place to install this historic blue plaque, which also serves as a marker for 100s of Black people who via the dockyard became familiar with the town between the 18th and 19th century.

Councillor Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I’m pleased that the plaque will soon be officially unveiled at Chatham historic dockyard to celebrate a family that made such an impact. The equality and inclusion of all Medway residents is among our top priorities, and we are proud to celebrate everyone in our community. I look forward to visiting it once it’s been unveiled.”

MACA would like to acknowledge the support of funders and sponsors for the Plaque which include :

Medway Council Arts team

The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

Chinara Enterprises Ltd

Medway TUC

Unite SE region

Councillor Lady Lola Magdalena Ministries

Medway Health Unison Branch

Steve Wilkins Medway TUC

Note to editors

The plaque will be unveiled on Thursday 15th July at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, this is an invite only event due to COVID restrictions

For further information, to confirm attendance and interviews please contact

Carol Stewart, Chairperson MACA, chair@macacharity.org.uk 

Windrush Day

We are really pleased to be celebrating Windrush day this year with you all. We have just launched some new resources on our Black History Live website, produced by Medway Culture Club and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Visit our Black History Live website to explore this resource

Today we also celebrate our heroes and sheroes as part of Windrush Day 2021. Checkout our interviews from last year

#Windrushday2021
To find out more about our work and to get involved , get in touch !

Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) Nominated for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards

The Breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to the awards, to be held on 4th February 2022. Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities. The prestigious black tie event recognises nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.

MACA has been working across Kent and Medway for over 35 year’s championing diversity both at strategic and community level. With no core funding, relying on grants and donations, MACA has delivered a number services and projects overs its history. Projects include the Young Black Achievers awards, the Black History Live project, which included an exhibition at the Chatham Historic Dockyard, work with schools, public health, Kent Police, universities and colleges, voluntary sectors, MACA is recognised as a key strategic partner in the region.

Carol Stewart, Chairperson of MACA said of the nomination “ We are really proud to be nominated for these awards, as it shows how much our work in the region is valued. Many Black led organisations outside of London , so not get recognised for the work we do, an award like this , will put Kent and Medway on the map, and showcase the amazing talent and diversity we have in the region, as well as what can be achieved through partnership working “

ITV News will be working in association with The National Diversity Awards to highlight role models and community organisations on regional and national news channels. Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News said; “We are pleased that ITV News will once again be supporting the National Diversity Awards. ITV News remains committed to telling the stories of those, who through their work and dedication to helping others have made a difference; enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in our society.” The UK’s largest diversity awards has attracted a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton and Katie Piper.

Sir Lenny Henry CBE, last year’s winner of the Celebrity of the Year gong said; “Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination; its means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated, you’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!” The National Diversity Awards receives over 60,000 nominations and votes annually. Founder & CEO Paul Sesay said, “As we enter our 10th awards season, The National Diversity Awards prepare to welcome a host of outstanding role models and charities to our family. We look to those who represent progress, spirit and resilience, and I cannot wait to learn about the wonderful work being carried out this year”. Nominations are now open and close June 4th 2021 – so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved! Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.

For a nomination form or help, please email or call Emma Houghton

Memorial Plaque

On Thursday 15th June we were privileged to witness a historic moment. In conjunction with The Nubian Jak Community Trust, Medway Council Arts team, The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Chinara Enterprises Ltd, Medway TUC, Unite SE region, Councillor Lady Lola Magdalena Ministries, Medway Health Unison Branch and Steve Wilkins Medway TUC. We unveiled a blue plaque commemorating the lives of Chatham and William Cuffay at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Chatham Cuffay emigrated to Medway in 1772 worked at the Dockyard with the Royal Navy and his son William Cuffay, born in 1788, was a tailor with a shop in Rochester High St, who became a pioneering chartist that challenged the government of his day.

The plaque was installed last year to mark 150 years since William’s passing, however, due to Covid restrictions, the official unveiling was delayed. Those in attendance included Trustees of MACA, Dr Jak Beula and The Mayor of Medway, Councillor Jan Aldous, Chief Supt Coretta Hines, Richard Morsley, Chief Executive Historic Dockyard Chatham, and other specially invited guests. The occasion celebrated the lives of father and son and their great achievements. We are proud to continue unmasking Medway’s hidden history.

Memorial Plaque

Medway African and Caribbean Association ( MACA) in partnership with the Nubian Jak memorial trust will be honouring two of Medway’s notable historical Black heroes, Chatham Cuffay, who after fleeing slavery and emigrated to Medway in 1772 worked at the Chatham Dockyard, and his son  William Cuffay, born in 1788, who was a chartist and a tailor, with a shop in Rochester High St. William, died just over 150 years ago in July 1870.

MACA contacted Dr Jak Beula, director of the Nubian Jak Memorial trust to discuss the installation of a memorial plaque in their honour.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham was chosen because of the links with Chatham Cuffay, and they felt it was an appropriate place to honor them both.

MACA held a 3 month exhibition at No 1 Smithery in 2018 of which William was featured, he was also a feature of a documentary filmed by UCA, and a play written by JD Douglas “ A Chatham Conversation”.

Chairperson of MACA Carol Stewart says of the plaque “ we are really proud to be unveiling this plaque to a family that made such a significant contribution to Medway. So much of our Black history is hidden or unknown, and without a balanced view of history that reflects all the important people who played a part in shaping it, then we will have a world where we continue to be misrepresented. Installing the plaque at the dockyard builds on the amazing work we have done with the team there in bringing to life the untold stories of Black people in Kent, and their contribution to making the dockyard more inclusive”

William started a movement that fought for the rights of workers, widely seen as the pre cursor to the Trade Union movement. The plaque was due to be unveiled last year, which was 150 years after his death, however due to COVID 19 this was postponed.

Dr Jak Beula said: Nubian Jak is pleased to be working with MACA to remember and memorialise Chatham Cuffay and his illustrious son William in the town of Medway. The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a particularly poignant place to install this historic blue plaque, which also serves as a marker for 100s of Black people who via the dockyard became familiar with the town between the 18th and 19th century.

Councillor Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I’m pleased that the plaque will soon be officially unveiled at Chatham historic dockyard to celebrate a family that made such an impact. The equality and inclusion of all Medway residents is among our top priorities, and we are proud to celebrate everyone in our community. I look forward to visiting it once it’s been unveiled.”

MACA would like to acknowledge the support of funders and sponsors for the Plaque which include :

Medway Council Arts team

The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

Chinara Enterprises Ltd

Medway TUC

Unite SE region

Councillor Lady Lola Magdalena Ministries

Medway Health Unison Branch

Steve Wilkins Medway TUC

Note to editors

The plaque will be unveiled on Thursday 15th July at The Historic Dockyard Chatham, this is an invite only event due to COVID restrictions

For further information, to confirm attendance and interviews please contact

Carol Stewart, Chairperson MACA, chair@macacharity.org.uk 

Windrush Day

We are really pleased to be celebrating Windrush day this year with you all. We have just launched some new resources on our Black History Live website, produced by Medway Culture Club and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Visit our Black History Live website to explore this resource

Today we also celebrate our heroes and sheroes as part of Windrush Day 2021. Checkout our interviews from last year

#Windrushday2021
To find out more about our work and to get involved , get in touch !

Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) Nominated for the UK’ Largest Diversity Awards

The Breathtaking Liverpool Anglican Cathedral will play host to the awards, to be held on 4th February 2022. Britain’s most inspirational and selfless people will come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities. The prestigious black tie event recognises nominees in their respective fields of diversity including age, disability, gender, race, faith, religion and sexual orientation.

MACA has been working across Kent and Medway for over 35 year’s championing diversity both at strategic and community level. With no core funding, relying on grants and donations, MACA has delivered a number services and projects overs its history. Projects include the Young Black Achievers awards, the Black History Live project, which included an exhibition at the Chatham Historic Dockyard, work with schools, public health, Kent Police, universities and colleges, voluntary sectors, MACA is recognised as a key strategic partner in the region.

Carol Stewart, Chairperson of MACA said of the nomination “ We are really proud to be nominated for these awards, as it shows how much our work in the region is valued. Many Black led organisations outside of London , so not get recognised for the work we do, an award like this , will put Kent and Medway on the map, and showcase the amazing talent and diversity we have in the region, as well as what can be achieved through partnership working “

ITV News will be working in association with The National Diversity Awards to highlight role models and community organisations on regional and national news channels. Rachel Corp, Acting Editor, ITV News said; “We are pleased that ITV News will once again be supporting the National Diversity Awards. ITV News remains committed to telling the stories of those, who through their work and dedication to helping others have made a difference; enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion in our society.” The UK’s largest diversity awards has attracted a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton and Katie Piper.

Sir Lenny Henry CBE, last year’s winner of the Celebrity of the Year gong said; “Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination; its means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated, you’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!” The National Diversity Awards receives over 60,000 nominations and votes annually. Founder & CEO Paul Sesay said, “As we enter our 10th awards season, The National Diversity Awards prepare to welcome a host of outstanding role models and charities to our family. We look to those who represent progress, spirit and resilience, and I cannot wait to learn about the wonderful work being carried out this year”. Nominations are now open and close June 4th 2021 – so don’t miss out on your chance to get involved! Shortlisted nominees will be announced shortly after this date.

For a nomination form or help, please email or call Emma Houghton

End Of Year Greetings

What a year it has been for us all! If you are reading this newsletter, I hope that you are in good health. This year MACA like everyone all over the world, has had to readjust how we do things.

Despite all the challenges we have faced, MACA has been able to manage some remarkable achievements. At the start of lock down, we were able to secure funding from the Martin Lewis emergency Coronavirus fund. This enabled us to launch a much needed emergency food and befriending service for our senior citizens.

We were able to provide over 300 Caribbean meals and food hampers over a 12 week period, working in partnership with Westcoast Kent CIC. We have since been able to secure some additional funding to continue the project with the support of Kent Community Foundation and the Brook Trust, Kent Sports, and regular donations.

Other achievements this year include our Windrush project and Hip Hopera. On our website you can see the Hands and Hearts illustrations and interviews from some of our Windrush generation. The Windrush project was coordinated by Yassmin Foster, who has worked really hard to ensure that we not only achieved our milestones, but exceeded them.

With funding secured from Theatre 31, and the Arts Council, we were able to engage the Upside Down, Dance Academy to produce a Hip Hopera to tell the story of the Windrush generation working with over 20 young people. Ola, Lexi and the team have worked with the young people to achieve a great production and we cant wait for you all to see it next year.

As you will know COVID-19 has resulted in significant challenges in how we function, and we have been working on a business development plan, so that we can secure a long term future for MACA.

We received funding from Heritage Lottery , as well as funding from Kent Community Foundation to engage Marva who has been coordinating the senior citizens project. Marva has worked really hard over the past few months, and has picked up a lot of the partnership work and made good relationships with the senior citizens.

As we have entered into another lockdown and a whole new Tier as a result of an increase in COVID-19 infections, we hope that you all manage to stay safe, healthy and find a safe way to enjoy time with family and friends over this festive period, even if it is virtually.
So as the year draws to a close, on behalf of the trustees of MACA, we would like to thank you all for your continued support and engagement with us over the year, and extend our best wishes for a happy and healthy Christmas, Kwanzaa, festive season, and an equally happy and healthy New Year

Press Release

Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) is proud to launch “Hands and Hearts”: Illustrated Stories of the Windrush generation in Kent and Medway

Hearts and Hands celebrate the Caribbean communities of Kent and Medway and their economic and cultural contribution to Europe.

For 2020 Medway African and Caribbean Association (MACA) had planned a photographic exhibition with and for its senior citizens, of which many are of the Windrush generation.

However, the months that preceded the start of the year proved very difficult, not just for the exhibition but also for the safety and well-being of African and Caribbean people in Kent and Medway. These communities were advised to self-isolate due to them being more susceptible to COVID-19, and in addition, had been restricted from seeing family and friends.

Through the perseverance, determination, courageous and compassionate nature of the Windrush generation, we are able to share a collection of excerpts from their stories, and of one of the most recognizable periods in modern British history.
Their stories have been captured and created into some beautiful illustrations, stories that provide a fascinating insight into their experiences over the years.

Carol Stewart, Chairperson MACA said:

“ This has been a very challenging year for MACA, but we have still found creative ways to continue to deliver, some of our usual activities we have had to pause due to COVID-19, so we are really proud that we have found a safe way to continue to meet our objectives.
Listening to these stories, bought tears to my eyes, but also a sense of pride. To hear them talk about their first experiences of arriving in Britain has made me really appreciate all of the sacrifices they made for current and future generations. We owe it to this generation to ensure that their stories and legacy are never forgotten. We hope that everyone enjoys watching and listening to these stories as much as we enjoyed making them with our Windrush heroes ! “

The MACA Windrush 2020 project was made possible thanks to the Church Urban Fund Windrush grants.

We would also like to thank all of the MACA members who shared their stories with us and to Yassmin Foster Windrush Project Coordinator for all her hard work in pulling this together.

Sports and activities survey

This survey has been put together for the members of Medway African and Caribbean Association in order to understand which sports and activities they would be interested in. All responses will remain anonymous.

Press release Home from home Emergency support cultural support receives grant from Martin Lewis Emergency fund.

Medway African and Caribbean Association in partnership with West Coast Kent CIC, are pleased to announce that we have been successful in a grant application from the Martin Lewis charity fund.

The ITV money saving expert who as well as being a regular presenter on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, hosts his own TV show, and has a Money Saving Expert website, launched a £3 million fund to charities who are struggling as a result of Covid 19.
MACA received £12, 500 which will go a long way to meeting its target of £25, 000 to provide culturally based support, including food hampers for Black elders in Kent.

MACA has until the lockdown been running a weekly drop in for members from the Black community which has also been open to people from a wide range of backgrounds for over 20 years.

“Since lockdown we have members who have felt very isolated and not able to engage with their friends, family, as well as access activities they would undertake at the drop in, this funding came as a total surprise and will enable us to start the project and provide much needed support “ Carol Stewart Chairperson MACA

The reason for this project being specifically targeted at Black African and Caribbean elders is because recent figures have shown that Black people are disproportionality suffering and dying from Coronavirus, despite making up a smaller % of the UK population, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52338101

With hypertension, diabetes, Sickle Cell, Lupus and other conditions known to be a bigger risk factor amongst Black communities it is important that as a community they have access to a healthy and well-balanced diet that meets their cultural needs. The food hampers received from the Government do not always cater for people with culturally specific dietary needs or food allergies, and as such there is a risk that they may eat food that is unhealthy or not eat at all.

The project will be co-ordinated by Westcoast Kent Community Interest Company ( WKCIC established 2013) whose team as well as coordinating large scale events have the experience, are fully licensed, run restaurant facilities, have a 5-star food hygiene rating and are currently running a delivery and takeaway service in Thanet Southeast Kent with a small team of paid and volunteer staff.

The Home from Home community support programme seeks to provide the following:

Access to African/Caribbean meals, which can be delivered hot or delivered cold so that it can be heated up at home, or frozen

A telephone befriending service: recruit a team of volunteers who can make calls once a week to Black elders across Kent and Medway, and signposting where required

Provide culturally based food/household hampers: E.g. tins of Ackee, Callaloo, packets of Saltfish, seasoning, mackerel, plantain, Black hair products. These are just an example of what the hamper could include.

The Charity which has also launched a Go Fund me page has raised nearly £500 from donations within the first 24 hours of the campaign launch,

For more information and interviews contact
chair@macacharity.org.uk
07501 497920

Carol Stewart
Chairperson on behalf of MACA and Eli Thompson Director on behalf of Westcoast Kent CIC

Home from home emergency support cultural support.

Medway African and Caribbean Association in partnership with West Coast Kent CIC, are launching a fundraising bid to provide culturally based support to members of the Black community who are isolated and vulnerable during the Coronavirus pandemic.

MACA has until the lockdown been running a weekly drop in for members from the Black community which has also been open to people from a wide range of backgrounds for over 20 years.

Due to the restrictions it had to close the drop in to ensure that its members are safe. Since lockdown we have members who have felt very isolated and not able to engage with their friends, family, as well as access activities they would undertake at the drop in.

Access to culturally based meals and food products has also proved difficult, with many of the specialist shops being quite small in size, thus making social distancing difficult, compounded with not being able to go at times when it is less busy.

The reason for this project being specifically targeted at Black African and Caribbean elders is because recent figures have shown that Black people are disproportionality suffering and dying from Coronavirus, despite making up a smaller % of the UK population, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52338101

With hypertension, diabetes, Sickle Cell, Lupus and other conditions known to be a bigger risk factor amongst Black communities it is important that as a community they have access to a healthy and well-balanced diet that meets their cultural needs. The food hampers received from the Government do not always cater for people with culturally specific dietary needs or food allergies, and as such there is a risk that they may eat food that is unhealthy or not eat at all.

In addition, we are looking for volunteers to help in making telephone calls to help reduce the isolation, as well as donations for books, games or activities that can be delivered to those who are in need to help with providing much needed stimulation.

The project will be co-ordinated by Westcoast Kent Community Interest Company ( WKCIC established 2013) whose team as well as coordinating large scale events have the experience, are fully licensed, run restaurant facilities, have a 5-star food hygiene rating and are currently running a delivery and takeaway service in Thanet Southeast Kent with a small team of paid and volunteer staff.

The Home from Home community support programme seeks to provide the following:

Access to African/Caribbean meals, which can be delivered hot or delivered cold so that it can be heated up at home, or frozen

A telephone befriending service: recruit a team of volunteers who can make calls once a week to Black elders across Kent and Medway, and signposting where required

Provide culturally based food/household hampers: E.g. tins of Ackee, Callaloo, packets of Saltfish, seasoning, mackerel, plantain, Black hair products. These are just an example of what the hamper could include.

How can you help?

Donate: We have set up a Go Fund me page where you can make a donation of any size

Volunteer: If you want to help in volunteering to drop of food, food hampers, make calls then email info@macacharity.org.uk

If you run a African or Caribbean restaurant/take away and want to offer your services, then please contact us so we can pass your details to Westcoast Kent CIC as we need to ensure that any food provided meets the required legal standards.

Access to this support will be from referral routes such as local voluntary sector groups, local councils, care and support agencies. The more funds we raise the more support we can offer!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, we hope that you can help us to help others!!

Carol Stewart: Chairperson on behalf of MACA and Eli Thompson Director on behalf of Westcoast Kent CIC

Young Black Achievers Awards 2019 in pictures!

What an amazing night we had, over 22 awards presented and the most amazing performnces by local talent Germaine Murray, USDD dance group, Yaa on the Trumpet, Taylor Paisley French took us on a Jazz journey, then we finished off with a fantastic performance form Lukas Setto!

We had some surprises on the night, with some winners not knowing they were being presented with an award, Robyn Goldsmith of Medway Council Arts Team and Eli Thompson owner of Olby’s Soul Cafe in Margate. We do it all again next year, so keep an eye on this page for more details, or get involved!