June 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of Windrush,  a mass migration that resulted in an estimated 172,000 West-Indian-born people living in the UK by 1961: the ‘Windrush Generation’.

The arrival of Windrush was instrumental in initiating multi-cultural Britain. GCF and partner organisations explored the significant contribution the Windrush Generation made to the UK culturally and economically, how society has changed with the influences of immigration, and how it continues to change today by the people who live and work here.

From November 2017 until June 2019, GCF worked with young people through weekly sessions to understand the story of Windrush. Work that was developed during the first half of this project culminated in a production, Sorrel & Black Cake, which was performed on 22nd and 23rd June 2018 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Windrush.

Digital teaching resources exploring Windrush were also created, and were presented by the young people in education, community and public settings and distributed widely through social media and digital networks. The teaching resource has now been updated for 2020.

In June 2019 two of our Young Ambassadors, Adeline Pitu and Lulia Togara, delivered workshops in schools across Leeds about Windrush and migration. They worked with GCF to develop the workshop and it was a great chance for us to pass on what we have learnt through the project.

Sorrel & Black Cake: A Windrush Story

A radiogram stands proud in the corner of Miss Letty’s immaculate front room. Gathered around are her family and friends, full of questions about her life and determined to give her the send-off she deserves. As they delve into her photo album and record collection, they are transported back to her arrival in Britain from the Caribbean in 1948, and the beginning of an incredible story.

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush, Sorrel & Black Cake: A Windrush Story is a well-spiced helping of music, movement and oral history, inspired by Caribbean and black British heritage and tales of the Windrush Generation.


Sorrel & Black Cake: A Windrush Story premiered at the Mandela Centre, Leeds, on Friday 22nd June and was also performed at Room 700, Leeds Central Library, on Saturday 23rd June. There was a scratch performance at Words in the City at the Carriageworks Theatre on 13th May.

Sorrel & Black Cake also appeared at the Ilkley Literature Festival on Friday 5th October 2018. The production’s visionary creatives, poet and theatre-maker Khadijah Ibrahiim and composer/musician Christella Litras, discussed their inspiration, performed extracts and presented never-before seen footage of interviews which inspired the production.

This project has been made possible through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for which we are hugely grateful. Thanks also to all our project partner organisations; Caution Collective, Creative Learning Partnerships, Leeds Young Authors, Peepal Tree Press, Molineaux Productions and RJC Dance and the Windrush Foundation.