The Gloucestershire African + Caribbean Association Ltd
Chair: Howard Francis- Corporate Manager: Pauline Reynolds
The Afro-Caribbean Association was established informally
some 20 years ago by a group of young people who were disillusioned at that
time with the existing organisation, the United West Indian Action Group. It
was felt that the organisation had dealt ineffectively with a number of
incidents which took place between the Police and young people. This group of young people felt that no one
was being proactive enough; so they decided to form a group to become more
vocal and proactive on behalf of the African-Caribbean Community in the City of
Within a year mainly due to funding-related problems, the two organisations decided that unless they took the initiative to talk to each other, identify common goals, and establish a working relationship the ‘Divide and Rule’ tactics being employed by funding agencies would prevail. Eventually a merger between the two organisations took place. The new Gloucestershire Afro-Caribbean Association was formed
In 1995 The Gloucestershire Afro-Caribbean Association Ltd (ACA) became a registered company limited by guarantee with charitable status The Association continually strives to ensure the economic development of its client groups through advice on areas including employment, education and training. It employs a full-time manager, part-time secretary/administrator and several part-time and voluntary staff for its growing number of projects.
The original Group (The West United Indian Action Group) was
already running a successful
As part of its efforts to identify the needs of all sectors of the community, ACA were influential in the development of the Black Elders Luncheon Club in1996. This was by no means an easy feat, there were numerous difficulties, some of which seemed at the time to be insurmountable. However, through perseverance, and a great deal of people willing to give up their time voluntarily, the Luncheon Club was finally established and is currently based at St Catherine’s Court in Gloucester. This is a very successful project, and now operates two days a week on a Tuesday and Thursday. Although the group has a level of autonomy, its’ own management committee and volunteers/staff, it is still supported by ACA and has representation on the ACA Board of Directors. Support is also offered by Social Services Department, through the Afro Caribbean Community Project.
A well established and popular project developed by ACA in1996, is the Shining Star Out of School/Kids Club (ACA Kids Club). This project was developed as a result of work carried out by ACA, Gloucestershire Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) and the Afro-Caribbean Community project (Social Services). The Club consistently receives excellent reports from its annual Social Services and OFSTED inspection. The Club received the Flying High Quality Assurance Award in 2002. Initial funding for this project was primarily via the Training & Enterprise Council and Gloucester City Council, and after struggling for some time with funding the Kids Club direct from the scarce resources of ACA, the Association was successful in obtaining a three year funding grant from the National Lotteries Commission. This funding has now ended and there is an enormous amount of work currently being undertaken to ensure the long term survival of this very valuable project.
During 1999 ACA established an educational project in the form of a Homework and Study Support Club. Cognisant of research showing persistent under-achievement of children, especially boys, of Afro-Caribbean origin in late primary and secondary school education, the Association was anxious to establish after school learning facilities to assist children between 9 and 16 years to raise their level of academic work and overall school performance. The project has a long term aim of raising academic performance in GCSE at age 16, encouraging pupils to remain in full time education until age 18 and enter further or higher education at the end of their full time education. Funding for this vital project was initially obtained through a Partnership for Learning Support Grant from the DfEE and the Gloucester Education Achievement Zone Scheme.
In March 2004 following its educational theme ACA commenced delivering a Parenting Programme; Initially funded by REU as part of the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities project The programme is of 12 three hour sessions plus an introductory session. The Programme is accredited through the Open College Network. However parents do not have to be literate to be able to participate. The programme enables parents to explore parenting issues and enhance parenting skills in a safe and supportive environment. This is necessary as being a parent can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience but can also be a stressful experience.
Ladies Circle is
another group which was set up by former members of the West Indian Action
There are a number of other areas in which ACA has an involvement. Following the initial closure of the local Racial Equality Council, it took on a number of case work. Although the new GlosREC is now up and functional, ACA has continued to provide advice in this field. It is actively looking for volunteers to assist, as well as working with the Racial Equality Forum, the Gloucester Law Centre, and other agencies such as the Citizen Advice Bureau and the Gloucester Racial Incidents Advisory Group (GRIG).
ACA works tirelessly to develop or extend links with like minded organisations and relevant statutory and voluntary agencies and institutions. It is greatly in need of active, committed members so it can consolidate its activities and service provision in current and potential projects. An active membership is also required for strategic planning of a growing number of areas in which the GACA is increasingly become involved.
The Association main aims are to cater for the needs of
African Caribbean people in the
To enable the organisation to achieve these aims, you need to become involved in promoting ACA. The organisation needs your active involvement to forge stronger links with our sub-groups and members, and in the development of stronger links with other like minded organisations.
Further information and application details for becoming a member of the Association or enrolling your children in any of ACA’s out of school projects can be obtained from the ACA Office.
ACA History (Revised May 2004)