London Tamil oral history project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

ROTA PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 February 2012

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant to Race on the Agenda (ROTA), in partnership with the Tamil Community Centre (Hounslow), to carry out an innovative one-year oral history project with the Tamil community in London.  The project, called ‘Through the generations: untold stories of Tamil migration’, will give different generations of Sri Lankan Tamils in London the opportunity to contribute to the first ever oral history of its kind.

Little has been done to document the history, experiences and contributions of UK-based Sri Lankan Tamils, who now represent a sizable population in the UK, particularly in London.

‘Through the generations’ will bring Tamils young and old together to exchange their memories of home and their experiences of migration, while highlighting their resiliency in adapting and contributing to life in the UK.

The project will benefit from ROTA’s unique approach, which ensures that communities shape and deliver the project from the outset. 15 Tamil young people from West London will help lead the project, gaining new and transferable skills in oral history, community research, documentary film-making, social media and communications along the way. Over 50 individuals from the Tamil community will also be supported to identify themes of their history that are most important to them through group reminiscence sessions.

The project will be launched at the Tamil Community Centre’s Poomaalai Harvest Festival Celebration in Hounslow on 18 February 2012.

Elizabeth Henry, Chief Executive of Race on the Agenda, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the Tamil community to lead on this innovative oral history project. We are also delighted to be working with the Tamil Community Centre to not only ensure the vital community preservation of Tamil Heritage but also raise awareness about the positive impact of Tamil migration to the UK”.

One-time Londoner of the Day, Rani Nagulandram, Coordinator of the Tamil Community Centre, said: “We are delighted to be working with ROTA on ‘Through the generations’. The project is very important to the Tamil community here in London and our volunteers and members are looking forward to preserving and sharing our history with the wider community”.

Notes to editor:

About Race on the Agenda

Race on the Agenda (ROTA) is a social policy and research organisation focused on improving outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. ROTA has over 30 years experiences working directly with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to identify solutions to disadvantage in health, education and criminal justice. Website: http://www.rota.org.uk

About the Tamil Community Centre

The Tamil Community Centre (TCC) provides advice and information on immigration and asylum, housing, employment, education and health for Tamil speaking migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. TCC advise the community on health and well-being through social, education, leisure and dance activity. TCC also works with children, young adults and elderly through language classes, mother & toddler groups, and by participating in community activities. Website: www.tccentre.co.uk

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage.  HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.7billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

About the Poomaalai Harvest Festival Celebration

The Tamil Community Centre is celebrating its 6th annual Harvest Festival Celebration in 2012. The event will be held at Lampton School, Lampton Avenue, Hounslow TW3 4EP. Entry is free. For more information, visit www.tccentre.co.uk

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Ryan Mahan, Project Officer, Race on the Agenda (ROTA), 020 7842 8535 and ryan@rota.org.uk
Poornima, Project Officer, Race on the Agenda (ROTA), 020 7842 8535 and poornima@rota.org.uk