Singer Faith Child and Crystal Palace footballer Wilfried Zaha are the special guests at tomorrow night’s launch of Black History Month in Croydon, being staged at the council’s office building, Fisher’s Folly.
But anyone thinking that the local council in one of the country’s most diverse boroughs might be behind a series of diverse and vibrant events throughout October are likely to be very disappointed.
Croydon Council’s own listings of events for Black History Month includes just 30 talks, screenings, walks or performances for the coming weeks – and not even all of those are being staged within the borough.
The council’s flimsy 20-page pdf for Black History Month has three blank pages, and only eight pages with events taking place in Croydon. The rest of it bulked up with London-wide listings.
Divided into sections for Croydon North, Central and South, the council can find only three events in the south of the borough for the whole of the month, and lists just eight events in the north of the borough.
This comes as the council, under Labour leader Tony Newman, has handed over £160,000 of its arts funding to private business Boozepark for it to stage its launch party – tickets 17 quid and upwards – at the end of October.
Few of the events taking place for Black History Month in the borough have been organised or paid for by Croydon Council. Many, such as film screenings in the David Lean Cinema or the newly opened Stanley’s Film Club in South Norwood, have been organised independently by community-spirited volunteers.
The paucity of activities in the borough’s libraries – usually a reliable source of such community events for Black History Month – is a worrying trend, indicative of the under-funding and under-staffing of the borough’s library service since it was outsourced to building firm Carillion.
An exception to that is the chance to meet the creator of Rastamouse, Michael D’Souza, who will be appearing at libraries in Thornton Heath, Ashburton and New Addington, and booking is recommended to reserve a place.
“By celebrating the traditions of our communities through story-telling, literature, film, festivals, crafts, and dance we can bring people together and promote greater awareness, respect and understanding among all of us,” the council’s press office had Hamida Ali, the cabinet member for communities, saying to pay lip-service to Black History Month.
Places are still available for the launch night, which is being held from 6pm to 8pm at what some people continue to call Bernard Weatherill House on Cost A Mint Walk on October 4. Fortunately, visitors are not required to bring a mop.
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Details of relevant Black History Month events in Croydon will be listed by Inside Croydon on our comprehensive community events listings, which is updated daily
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