African dancers at the Community African Shield Exhibition.

Community African Shield Exhibition for the Launch of Black History Month Cheltenham

DATE: Saturday 30th September 2017

TIME: 12.30pm – 4.00pm

(12.30 – 1.30pm exhibition and voting, 2 – 3pm hip hop dance and live music, 3pm winner announced)

PLACE: St. Matthew’s Church, 44 Clarence St, Cheltenham GL50 3PL 

As part of Black History Month 2017 Barnwood Trust, in partnership with the African Community Foundation, has run a competition encouraging community groups across Gloucestershire to come together to design and create their own African Shield themed around what their community means to them.

On September 30th people are invited to join Barnwood and the African Community Foundation for a free event held at St Matthew’s Church in Cheltenham which will showcase all of the entries from communities across Gloucestershire.  The event will also celebrate the start of Black History Month Cheltenham with an afternoon of African food, local entertainment and of course the announcement of the competition winners!

Community members showing a handmade blanket at the Community African Shield Exhibition.

Speaking for Barnwood Trust, Jess Waterman said, “We have been overwhelmed by the entries we have received from groups across the county. The African Shields really showcase what people can do when they come together to create something. We look forward to welcoming people to the event on the 30th September and celebrating the launch of Black History Month Cheltenham.”

 African Community Foundation

African Community Foundation Gloucestershire is an organisation that was set up in 2013 to provide a platform for social cohesion, participation and empowerment for all communities in Gloucestershire. We do this by organizing events e.g. we are the lead partner of Cheltenham Black History Month and work with partner organisations as listed; University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Borough Council, The Wilson, Barnwood Trust, The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Everyman Theatre and so on to deliver this event in Cheltenham.  We participate in consultations and inform on issues affecting our community to partner organisations within our locality and advise those in our community on training and volunteering opportunities available in Gloucestershire. We also work as a third party organisation, sign-posting people to the different organisations and services that might provide support for their own wellbeing for the good of all in our society. 

Black History Month

Black History Month celebrates the contributions and achievements that the Black, African and Caribbean communities have made locally in Cheltenham and in the world. The aim of the month is to promote knowledge of Black history and experience, disseminate information on positive Black contributions to British society, and heighten the confidence and awareness of Black people and their cultural heritage. It is hosted across the world every year in October.

The month is an exciting time for both the Black community (also known as the African diaspora), and other communities that live in Cheltenham, to come together and share ideas about how to overcome some of the challenges which some members still face.  These may be things like racism, accessing education, housing, health, business and much more.

The African diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that originated from the historic movement of people from Africa.  Many of the descendants of West and Central Africa, who were enslaved, were shipped to Britain during the slave trade. It has been documented that Africans were brought over to live in Gloucestershire as slaves as far back as the 18th century. Since then, their descendants have continued to contribute to different aspects of life within the county. In 1964, Astley Lloyd Blair, aged 27, became England’s first Black policeman, when he joined the Gloucestershire police force.

For more information about this free event call Barnwood Trust on 01452 614429 or email