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Chairman’s Annual Report March 01 to Feb 02

During the year Jamaica 2K continued to undertake a range of activities relating to our core work. This was supported by active involvement of Board Members, the full involvement of colleagues in Jamaica and regular meetings in Wolverhampton of the development and project management team.

UK activities

Across the UK we have started to support organisations working within the Jamaican community to get community learning activities up and running. Early in the year the “Built on the Rock Ministries” in London and the Dudley Advice Centre, explored options and were supported by Jamaica 2K in the preparation of funding and development proposals.

By March 01, we had completed the activities funded under our first “Awards for All” project. This resulted in very positive outcomes, with publications and activities relating to Jamaican History and Heritage. Thanks go especially to Andrew Hazel for the stunning re-illustrations of the stories of the Jamaican Heroes.

Adult Learners’ Week in May saw Jamaica 2K Founder Member, Joslyn Ross, recognised as the “UK Senior Learner of the Year”. Jamaica 2K were able to publish the story Joslyn had written as part of his Basic Skills studies. This tells of his experiences moving to the UK in the 1950s.  Joslyn has been able to inspire others throughout the year, with his message that “it’s never too late to learn”. He has visited organisations across the UK and in Jamaica, encouraging older and younger people by his example.

October is Black History month in the UK and Jamaica 2K ran a second successful Quiz Challenge event in Dudley working with Dudley Advice Centre, the Local Authority and the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service.

During the year our Wolverhampton based community activities have been supported by funding from a range of sources. This has enabled us to begin to develop a response to needs in the local community.

The Community Education Development Fund support was used to run a series of very popular “Surf Nights” which enabled people from local communities across Wolverhampton to try out “surfing the net” to find out more about Jamaica today and fascinating Jamaican History and Heritage sites. This was followed by a delicious “taste of Jamaica” - thanks to the “Love and Care in the Community” team led by Sarah Grinley. Thanks also go to the community organisations who hosted the events and to Carol Brooks, Louise McLean and Janet Bernard for taking the lead in organising the activities.

The Black Regeneration Network supported us with funding to enable the development of a Basic Skills curriculum framework. This is for use in Community Learning activities which are culturally relevant to the African Caribbean Community.

We gained support from the ABCD Regeneration Project in Blakenhall to run a training programme that has enabled members of the community to gain the City and Guilds Initial Certificate in Basic Skills Teaching. We also recognise and value the support given by Khembi Black and the City College Birmingham team, who gave up their Saturday mornings in the Autumn term to work with our students.  This programme has helped us to build the capacity of our community to develop and deliver Basic Skills provision to nationally recognised standards, in line with the UK Government “Skills for Life” agenda.

Wolverhampton Health Action Zone supported our endeavours to produce a “healthy eating” cookery book. We linked with the All Saints HAZ project and the Lighthouse Media Centre to prepare a video of the preparation of the dishes.

In June, Jamaica 2K was acknowledged by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council with an award for demonstrating “Good Practice”. This was for the development strategy of “working through partnerships” with a wide and growing range of organisations. This strategy has enabled Jamaica 2K to achieve far more, than the efforts of a group of people working on our own.

Our involvement in supporting the celebration of Adult Learners’ Week resulted in a visit to the UK in May 01 from Seymour Riley, the Director of Filed Operations at the JAMAL Foundation. Seymour Riley was pleased to be able to attend a Celebration Dinner organised by Jamaica 2K held at the Mahoe Banqueting Suite in Dudley to mark the end of Adult Learners’ Week. He was also able to visit some community provision and he was invited to officially open Jamaica 2K’s new offices at 68a Worcester Street in Wolverhampton.

Jamaica / UK links

We were successful in gaining support from the UK Department for International Development to fund a professional exchange project under “HE Links”.  We work with the University of Wolverhampton and the University of the West Indies to enable professionals from Jamaica and from the UK to exchange, undertake research and share good practice. For 2 weeks in June we prepared a busy itinerary for Herbert Nelson, the JAMAL Foundation’s Workplace Basic Skills Co-ordinator, when he came to the UK on the first of these exchanges. During his stay in the UK, Herbert Nelson was able to attend the Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit “Skills for Life” event in London and the RaPAL Conference in Nottingham, as well as finding out more about Workplace Basic Skills in the UK, visiting a range of providers and Colleges.

During his visit Herbert Nelson gave a presentation about his work with major employers in Jamaica at a seminar held in Wolverhampton. Dr Louis Sterling, author of the Jamaica Adult Literacy Survey 1999, also gave an outline of the findings of this recently published research at this event.

Sandra Pegum, Training and Development Manager from the UK’s Workplace Basic Skills Network accepted the invitation to visit Jamaica in February 02 to work with the JAMAL Foundation’s Workplace Basic Skills Co-ordinators: Herbert Nelson and Pernel Crossman. This was part of the DfID exchange programme and was given additional support from the WPBSN at the University of Lancaster. Sandra was able to research the development of Workplace Basic Skills in Jamaica and wrote guidance for others taking part in the exchange visit.

Liz Millman flew to Jamaica in August 01 to represent Jamaica 2K at the International Conference for Adult Education and to undertake development work relating to our computer shipment activities. Liz set up a series of successful meetings and made a number of very valuable contacts. During Liz’s visit, Melvah Blake agreed to take on the voluntary role of Jamaica 2K Co-ordinator, based in Jamaica, to complement Liz’s role in the UK.  This visit was organised under the DfID exchange, with support from the University of Wolverhampton and Learning Logistics.

Melvah Bake visited the UK in December 01 and was able to make a presentation at the Workplace Basic Skills Network Annual Conference which was held in South Wales. Delegates were interested to hear of the work of Jamaica’s Workforce Development Commission and the workplace basic skills developments in the island wide banana production estates. Melvah was also active in working with the Jamaica 2K Training and Development Team, meeting students on the teacher training programme.

Joslyn Ross was able to make the final DfID funded visit this year to Jamaica to share his success and achievement as UK Senior Learner of the Year, he was able to promote learning to older people across the island. His visit was supported by Age Concern, Jamaica and funds raised by Jamaica 2K.

Computer shipments

Jamaica 2K supported the DfID funded Jamaica All Age Schools Project by managing the shipment of 146 new computers. These were for the schools involved in the project, which are in the most remote and deprived rural areas on the island.  We are supported by the generosity of Jamaica Producers and JP Shipping, who ship the computers for us at no charge and to KHC Transport, who manage the collection and transportation of the computers in the UK.

Finally ….

The Jamaica 2K AGM was held at the EVCAP Centre in Wolverhampton and members were delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Jamaica 2K’s Jamaica based co-ordinator, Melvah Blake. Melvah was able to describe developments and progress and was able to answer questions about the progress of our work in Jamaica. Joslyn Ross, UK Senior Learner of the Year, was the Guest of Honour. The AGM was chaired by Jamaica 2K Treasurer, Jim Smith, who managed to make the business part of the event both informative and interesting, before inviting members to enjoy a superb lunch prepared by the "Love and Care in the Community” Team. The AGM was held at the EVCAP Centre and thanks go to Pastor Leonora Williams and the EVCAP Team.

Throughout the year we have benefited from many hours of support from volunteers from the African Caribbean and other communities and countries. For voluntary work placement we welcomed students from Taiwan and France.

Special thanks go to Jamaica 2K’s enthusiastic team of local volunteers, based in Wolverhampton, including Janet Bernard, Michael Williams, Richard Carr, Joslyn Ross, and Louise McLean, as well as our UK and Jamaica Co-ordiinators, Liz Millman and Melvah Blake.

We are also grateful to the many organisations that we have established working partnerships with, for their support and encouragement.

Throughout the year we have received regular communication from the Jamaican High Commission and attended a number of events in London. We are indebted to the Jamaican High Commissioner, David Muirhead, for taking the role as Patron of Jamaica 2K and to Delores Cooper, Community Liaison Officer for her ongoing support.

Stephen Brooks
Chairman of Jamaica 2K


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