Left to Right are: Cliff DePass | Humie Webbe | Leanne Rahman | Maria Mesa

20211001 PT RaceCouncilCymru 017

We’re delighted that Race Council Cymru (RCC) Black History Wales’s dedicated volunteers, based in Cardiff, have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK – the MBE for voluntary groups.

RCC Black History Wales, based in Cardiff and formed in 17yrs ago is dedicated to promoting understanding of the contributions of people of Black African and African Caribbean heritage in Wales. Our dedicated volunteers have been bringing people together to celebrate all the peoples of Wales, no matter what their background through a variety of arts, cultural and educational activities. Since their conception, they have delivered over 250 successful projects and events, and over 50 key campaigns.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and recipients are announced each year on the anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

RCC Black History Wales Cardiff was one of 241 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. Award winners for 2021 were wonderfully diverse, including volunteer groups from across the UK: a children’s bereavement charity in London; a support group those living with dementia and their carers in North Yorkshire and a community radio station in Inverness.

The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them.

Representatives from Race Council Cymru, Black History Wales Cardiff received the award crystal and certificate from Mrs Morfudd Meredith, Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, who represented the monarch in this ceremonial service. Furthermore, two volunteers from RCC Black History Wales Cardiff will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time), along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

More information on the recipients and the Award can be found at https://www.gov.uk/queens-award-for-voluntary-service

Full details on how to nominate are available at https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/

Mrs Vernesta Cyril OBE, Black History Wales Patron said “This is brilliant news, I am absolutely delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has awarded RCC Black History Wales Cardiff such a distinguished honour, finally we can say that Black peoples’ contributions here in Wales is recognised and acknowledged. This means a lot to me and I hope this opens the path for more in our society to respect the contributions of Black people in Wales”.

Other leaders of Black History Wales Cardiff had this to say:

“Rachel and I are delighted that Black History Wales Cardiff has been recognised for this prestigious award. It is an honour for me to be a Patron and Rachel to be a Black History Wales Champion and are proud that our work has been recognised with this accolade. It is a wonderful reflection of all the hard work our committee members do in a voluntary capacity to ensure that Black History is embedded in Wales. My late mother and Rachel’s late grandmother, Mrs Betty Campbell MBE would be incredibly touched to know that the work she helped to lay the foundation of has been recognised in this way. Fantastic news indeed.” Elaine Clarke – Black History Wales Patron & Daughter of Late Mrs Betty Campbell MBE and Rachel Clarke – Black History Wales Champion & Granddaughter of late Mrs Betty Campbell MBE

Professor Uzo Iwobi OBE, Black History Wales Activist and Management Committee member said ‘I am delighted that our volunteers are receiving the recognition they deserve with this prestigious award. These are difficult times for Black communities in Wales, and Black History Wales volunteers work tirelessly to support them. I pay tribute to our elders such as late Mrs Betty Campbell MBE RIP, Patti Flynn RIP, Angela Barnes RIP, Mr Isaac RIP, and current elders Mrs Vernesta Cyril OBE, Mr Lenn Lawrence, Mrs Roma Taylor- Chair Windrush Cymru Elders, Dr Grace Kerry, Mrs Geraldine Trotman, Mrs Elaine Clarke and all our Black History patrons, Nicky Delgado, Maria Mesa, Dr Glen Jordan to name a few… are giants on whose shoulders we stand. Black History Wales Cardiff branch, is the founding region for Black History Wales, and has enjoyed the support of the Lord Lieutenant Morfudd Meredith in a variety of community led events and we thank her for her support of our work.  Black History Wales Management Committee is committed to providing opportunities for all, and we would not be able to do our work without the unwavering commitment and superb talent of our amazing volunteers.’

Dr Marian Gwyn, Race Council Cymru’s Head of Heritage, stated ‘RCC Black History Wales Cardiff has worked tirelessly to support minority communities in Wales.  This would not have been possible without our amazing volunteers.  We are so proud to receive this award.’

Humie Webbe Black History Management Committee Member said, “This is fantastic news! In celebrating the receipt of the Queens Award for Voluntary Services for our Black History Wales Cardiff branch, we also pay tribute to those who paved the way for us to have pride in our culture & heritage. I’m thinking of my great friends singer/activist Patti Flynn and Educator Betty Campbell whose legacies live on”.

Leanne Rahman Black History Project Manager and Management Committee Member for over 12years said“It is so humbling for the groups and individuals who dedicated their time and efforts to furthering Black History in Cardiff to receive this award. From very small beginnings to a Wales-wide movement, this award reinforces just how vital educating and empowering communities to know and understand their history is. Thank you on behalf of the ancestors who inspired and paved the way for us to strive, flourish and succeed”

To round off is a statement from Chantelle Haughton Chair of Black History Wales Management Committee who had this to say, Thank you. It’s wonderfully exciting to hear the news of The Queens Award for Voluntary Services for our organisation, this is heartfelt recognition of Black History Wales which started here in Cardiff and the Pan-Wales wider work of everyone involved. Sincere appreciation is felt for the contributions and wisdom of the Management Committee, intergenerational members and all supporting partnership organisations. Warmest congratulations to everyone involved with your voice, presence and knowledge.