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Holiday Club

As 2022 draws to a close, and I reflect on some of the things I did this year, I am thankful I started planting a forest (metaphorically) in my community. The opportunity arose to create a cultural club for children of African, African Caribbean and dual heritage children in Ipswich, Suffolk. I jumped at the idea of giving back to my community.


As a former educator, I carried out research which looked at the persistent failure of African Caribbean children in the UK. Also, it is documented that children of dual heritage (mixed race), the fastest-growing group in the UK, had the highest mental health issues. African children were doing much better. However, it is mainly the west Africans who are making strides in educational achievements. I formulated a programme for the children to address, identify, and reinforce their worth and made it fun.


It became apparent that for the first time, I had the freedom to create a holistic programme suited for Black children. I watched the children grow in confidence, be themselves and, like sponges, absorb information at an alarming rate. Interestingly, at the end of each day, the children did not want the leave. Parents would come and wait, watching their children as they lit up. Some parents reported how their children would wake them up because they did not want to be late. I offered the winter holiday cultural club; again, parents watched their children engrossed in activities. When it was time to pack away, they kept working.


One afternoon, I had to call a halt as the session overran by nearly half an hour. Parents wanted to know if we would continue after Christmas; sadly, the winter sessions are for only four days. I was a lecturer for nineteen years, and whilst I enjoyed it, it was not fulfilling. When I walk into the cultural club with the children, I know this is why I was born. I am still amazed at the changes I saw in the children in such a short time.


My Master’s degree in Teaching and Learning at the University of Manchester has prepared me to create these programmes. Studying at Cambridge University is a constant reminder that anything is possible. The world continues to evolve; we see a continuous change in our nations and communities. The pandemic with lockdowns, the shortages of food in our supermarkets, and the rising cost of living at an exponential rate are changes we did not anticipate. However, there are changes needed for all our children to fulfil their true potential and grow into valuable citizens contributing to their communities. I will continue to write programmes for these children, affirm them and help them to reimagine life where dreams can become a reality.


Sharon (Jan 2023)


Summer 2023 Wonderfully Made Cultural summer project.jpg
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