Windrush Day: 76 Years On - Business in the Community

Windrush Day: 76 Years On

Post author image. Sandra Kerr
Sandra Kerr, Race Director, Business in the Community (BITC), reflects on the significance of the Windrush Generation as we continue to strive for a more inclusive society.

Each year on 22 June, Windrush Day is observed to not only mark a significant chapter in British history but to also honour the Windrush Generation, who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971.

The day holds deep personal significance for me, as it commemorates the journey and resilience of my parents who migrated from Jamaica to the UK in the late 50s and early 60s. Their courage in leaving their homeland to seek better opportunities has profoundly shaped my identity and heritage.

Contributions to British society

The Windrush Generation played a pivotal role in revitalising Britain’s post-war economy. They worked in various sectors, including the NHS, public transport, and manufacturing industries. Their hard work and dedication were instrumental in the country’s recovery and growth during a challenging period.

Their contributions have profoundly shaped the nation’s cultural, social, and economic landscape. As we celebrate Windrush Day, it’s crucial to celebrate their enduring legacy and acknowledge both their achievements and the barriers they faced.

Challenges and resilience

Despite their significant contributions to the UK, the Windrush Generation experienced multiple challenges, including discrimination, racism, and social exclusion. Many experienced hostilities and were subjected to poor living and working conditions. However, their resilience and determination to build better lives for themselves and their families exemplify their enduring spirit.

Windrush Day is a time for celebration, reflection, and education. Across the UK, various events and activities are held to honour the Windrush Generation’s legacy.

At Business in the Community (BITC), we held our very own event which focused on leaders inspiring progress within businesses. Action by employers to commit to race equality could boost the UK economy and lead to increased productivity and returns in the workplace. However, these potential gains are stifled by the barriers faced by ethnically diverse talent in the workplace.

This is why I believe it is vital that companies become comfortable talking about race equality and show their commitment to building a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace culture.

Diverse and Inclusive supply chains

Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse-led businesses contribute an estimated £25-32b each year to the UK economy1. Yet despite this, they are more likely to face barriers to start and run a successful business.

That’s why at BITC, we believe that employers should ensure Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse owned businesses are part of their supply chain contracts. This is commitment seven of our Race at Work Charter.

Windrush Day serves as a reminder of the importance of diversity, equality and equity. Our Diverse and Inclusive Supply Chains project in collaboration with YouGov embodies this, which aims to gather insights and perspectives from leaders, to promote a fair and equal opportunity to compete for business.

Research from Aston University, Birmingham suggests that Ethnic Minority Businesses’ (EMBs) contribution to GDP could increase fourfold to £100 billion with the right kind of business support.

We are calling on leaders and employees for their invaluable input, as the survey will strive to better understand current practices, identify opportunities for improvement, and ultimately foster more diverse and inclusive supply chains.

Let us celebrate their achievements and that of their descendants to continue to strive for a more inclusive and just society in their memory. Find out more and complete the survey.



1 Federation for Small Business s.k.26120.