Running since 1976, Walsall Community Association (formally the African Caribbean Community Association) has been a very important venue for the African Caribbean Community of Walsall and the wider West Midlands for over 40 years. Nationally, the centre has also been a popular venue for Domino tournaments in the past.
There have been substantial funding cuts over recent years, but we have persevered and we continue to run a wide variety of activities and events for the community.
Our Luncheon Club has been running for over 10 years and continues to provide a freshly cooked, hot meal for the community every Wednesday, whilst also allowing the community to have a place to socialise, play dominoes and bingo, go on day trips, and receive information during health presentations.
We run Family Fun Days, Bank Holiday BBQ’s, Black History Month Events and many more community events frequently throughout the year.
Our function rooms and kitchen are available to hire and are used for recreational and educational purposes, including family events such as birthday parties, weddings and funerals. Community groups of all types that don’t have premises space of their own also rent our facilities for meetings and other types of community activities, that engage a wide cross-section of local residents.
In 2018 we managed a project that was designed to improve relations between members of the African Caribbean Community and the Managers of Entertainment Venues in Walsall Town Centre. Young people were complaining of racial discrimination in the way that they were refused admission to Licenced Premises and so we put on a series of events to build bridges between bar and pub managers and their doormen and the young people in the community. These were also attended by representatives of the Walsall Town Centre Partnership and the West Midlands Police.
In 2019 we received a grant from the government to create a Community Garden, which was opened by the Major of the West Midlands in June. The garden provides a relaxing area for all the community, while celebrating community spirit and biodiversity. We also ran a Windrush Day Celebration in June (the garden was also opened on the same day).
In 2022 we ran an event to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with a Free Community Lunch attracting over 400 people, who enjoyed a variety of Caribbean and Asian cuisine. Steel Drum music played throughout the day, screens showed Her Majesty the Queen’s visits to the Commonwealth and other parts of the country, and Professor Martin Levermore (a deputy lieutenant of Her Majesty the Queen’s Representative) gave a speech about inclusive society and how the West Indian community has been part of it.
We intend to continue to provide the residents of Walsall and the local community with a very conveniently located Community Centre that they can use, and we will be running new events and activities in the near future.