aspire4ulottery-heritageThe richness of Jamaican culture in Birmingham is to be collated and preserved thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The award of £41,900 will allow Digbeth based, community interest company Aspire4u to run the NYAM project with Birmingham residents.

Although there are a large number of people of Jamaican descent living in Birmingham, Jamaican culture seems to be diminishing as emerging generations continue to assimilate. The Nyam project aims to preserve and sustain Jamaican cultural practices, histories and traditions in a bid to address this issue. This will be achieved through the a series of activities including providing 25 young people with oral history research training enabling them to record the oral histories of first generation Jamaican migrants . The youths will also be taught the art of Jamaican cooking and produce a website and booklet incorporating recipes, testimonials and factual information.

In order to ensure the wider community benefit from the project, Aspire4u will be coordinating a selection of seminars aimed at exploring the history of Jamaican cooking, the impact of Jamaican culture on Britain and several other areas relating to Jamaican culture. Additionally, the varying elements of the project will be filmed with the footage incorporated into a documentary which will be screened at the end of the project at a celebratory event.

Commenting on the award, Project Manager Daniella Genas said, “We are incredibly excited about this project as we think it is very important that Jamaican cultural practices, traditions & histories are documented and preserved for future generations.”

Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to award this grant which will enable people of all ages to discover their Jamaican heritage through oral history and interactive sessions – bringing to life the experiences of the ‘Windrush’ generation.”

Using money raised through the National Lottery, since 1994 the Heritage Lottery Fund has not only revitalised hundreds of museums, parks, historic buildings, landscapes and wildlife sites, but has also given new meaning to heritage itself. People from every walk of life are now involved with the heritage that inspires them, making choices about what they want to keep and share from the past, for future generations.

Aspire4u CIC is committed to changing the life chances of young people through varying training schemes and community projects. They believe that all young people have the potential to achieve greatness if they are empowered through the appropriate methods. They have found their projects and training schemes to be a great way to engage youths from disadvantaged backgrounds.