Project Background

We began the journey leading to the production of this resource over three years ago. It was the time when `Big Society` was being introduced as a new means for local communities to take more responsibility for what happens in their area and to work more actively together.

However, the `Big Society` concept was not new to many black and minority ethnic communities who had to build their community support infrastructure and networks from scratch when they first arrived here, predominantly in the 1950's and 1960's. Much of the current black and minority ethnic voluntary and community sector is built on the work done by the early activists.

Communities Inc. was concerned that with the passing of time, their stories would be lost to future generations. This is what motivated us to develop this project.

We were keen to recognise the value and dedication of local people who quietly go about their work, improving lives, facilitating access to key services and providing essential support. Often there are many who do not seek recognition but they are no less remarkable in their efforts to improve the lives of others.The people you see in this brochure were put forward by members of the community, then researched and interviewed by our team. Thanks go to the 20 volunteer researchers many of them being young people, the Heritage Lottery Fund (East Midlands) for working with us and helping to bring focus to our original idea and for providing the resources to make it happen. Thanks also go to our partners in this project: East Midlands Oral History Archive at the University of Leicester, Nottingham Archives and the Community Partnership Team at the University of Nottingham.

We hope you will find this resource helpful and inspiring.