Press release – 18 December 2019

Photo Credit: PA

The government is being urged by Black Cultural Archives (BCA) to improve the Windrush Compensation Scheme – which – at the time of writing – has still made no payouts to victims 20 months after Theresa May apologised over the scandal.  

BCA has criticised the process as difficult to access and onerous, and says it’s only causing additional trauma to those who have been affected.  

The institution, which is the largest UK repository of Black British history and culture, is now hosting a public meeting and free legal surgeries in a bid to help those awaiting compensation.

Arike Oke, Managing Director of BCA, said: “Although we support the launch of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, it is yet to provide payments for people who have suffered, and are suffering, as a result of government errors and policy.  

“The Scheme itself is difficult to access and causes additional trauma to those already made to suffer by asking them to navigate further unduly onerous and unnecessary amounts of evidence to be granted the compensation they are due.”

The public meeting will be held on Saturday, 18 January 2020 at Lambeth Town Hall. It will be an opportunity to find out the latest updates on the scheme and to pose questions to representatives from the Home Office.  

The free legal surgeries will be held every Wednesday and Saturday from 22 January until the end of February. These will be led by immigration specialist legal firm, McKenzie, Beute and Pope.  

Ms Oke added: “Those landing cards that would have led to citizenship being confirmed should have been in our archives. For our history and our presence in the UK to be held in such scant regard is shocking. We are here to correct those errors in judgment, to correct the emissions and erasures from mainstream history and to reassert that we were here before, we are now and we’ll be here in the future.  

“We stand with the people affected by the Windrush scandal in making sure this never happens again, and will be helping them to claim the compensation they are absolutely entitled to as British citizens.”

The public meeting will be held at 2pm on Saturday, 18 January at Lambeth Town Hall. Free tickets can be booked through the BCA’s website

Free legal surgery slots can also be booked online, or by calling the BCA on 0203 757 8500. Surgeries will start on Wednesday 22 January and run every Wednesday from 5pm-8pm and Saturday 10am-12pm until Saturday, 29 February.  

BCA received funding from the Windrush Justice Fund and The Funding Network (TFN) in order to make these events available to those who need it.




For more information, contact Juanita Rosenior /020 3375 6024 

Notes to editors:

  • BCA Managing Director, Arike Oke, and Chair, Dawn Hill, are both available for interview.

  • Black Cultural Archives is the home of Black British history and is situated in the heart of Brixton on Windrush Square. Its mission is to collect, preserve and celebrate the histories of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain

  • Founded in 1981, BCA is the first of its kind and its unique collection includes rare historical documents, photographs, ephemera, oral history testimonies and an eclectic range of objects dating from the second century to the present day.

  • BCA’s work recognises the importance of broader historical narratives and promotes dialogue that encourages everyone to learn, explore and become inspired by an inclusive British history.

  • The Funding Network is an open network which links potential donors to charitable causes and social entrepreneurs through live crowdfunding. They aim to raise money for small non-profits driving social change and help both individuals and businesses to combine their giving with others, to make a bigger impact.

  • The Windrush Justice Fund, in partnership with the Mayor of London, provides small grants and support to community groups and projects working with those affected by the Windrush Scandal.