Published on 24th September 2014

Young white and Caribbean women smiling and looking at books in a library. Black and white photo from around 1960.

Next month will be the first ever Black History Month (BHM) in Cheltenham.

Black History Month has grown in Britain in recent years, and over 6,000 annual events currently take place throughout its towns and cities, including Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester. Now, it is set to become one of Cheltenham’s eagerly anticipated annual events, alongside the town’s other highly popular festivals.

BHM is designed to celebrate the contributions and achievements that Black, African and Caribbean communities have made locally in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire, as well as the world over. The aim of the month is to promote knowledge of Black history, culture and heritage; to disseminate information on positive Black contributions to British society; and to heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people to their cultural heritage.

The month is an exciting time for the Black community and other communities that live in Cheltenham and Gloucestershire to join together and share ideas about how to overcome some of the challenges each of them may face – such as racism, access to education, housing, health, business and much more.

A programme of events will shortly be listed in our events calendar. They will include films, talks, music, street performances and exhibitions.

Black History Month in Cheltenham is jointly organised by the African Community Foundation, West End Partnership and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Florence Thomas, Chair of Gloucestershire African Community Foundation, said: “Black history is important to us, as it embraces diversity and a cultural heritage that is often forgotten.”

Tanya Stacey, social inclusion worker at Cheltenham Borough Council, added: “We were very supportive of the idea as we want to highlight and celebrate the achievements of black people in Cheltenham and the UK. It is also important to remember the challenges that black communities faced here in Cheltenham and across the UK.”

Councillor Rowena Hay, cabinet member for healthy lifestyles, commented: “Black History Month has been celebrated widely for many years honouring the achievements, culture and the history of black people. I’m delighted that Cheltenham is joining in the celebrations this year with a programme of exciting and inspirational events.”

For more information on BHM visit the Black History Month 2014 website. For more information on the events taking place in Cheltenham contact Tanya Stacey on 01242 775205 or email [email protected] or visit the Cheltenham Black History Month Facebook page.

For media enquiries, contact: Kelly Carter, communications officer, telephone: 01242 264154, email [email protected]