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African Caribbean Community Organisation Ltd

Community Magazine Issue 7 Winter 2009

Coventry's Business Talent

In this edition we celebrate black business in Coventry, highlighting a couple of the longest more established African Caribbean small businesses. There are many successful African and Caribbean entrepreneurs in Coventry, but they are quietly getting on with their business and not getting the recognition they deserve. Once again thank you to all those who submitted articles for this edition. Special thanks to the advertisers who have helped to make production of this magazine possible. We would like this magazine to be meaningful for you, if there is something you would like us to include please do get in touch. If you wish to discuss circulation, and or advertising, please get in touch. If you would like to contribute an article for future editions, please email me or call 024 7622 3020 Advertisers in this edition : Fostering & Adoption Team Henley College Amazon Initiatives

Disclaimer & Copyright

The views expressed by magazine contributors, do not necessarily represent the views of ACCOL, Those articles written by third parties are the sole responsibility of the writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written. All trademarks, design rights, copyrights, registered names, mottos, logos, used in this magazine are the property of their respective owners and have been reproduced in this magazine with their permission.


Articles included in this edition: 

Latest news from ACCOL

Features on:     

Stephone Hunkins Annette Hay Heslyns Hair Salon Jerry Cottrell Dev Barrett

About Amazon Initiatives

Who is the richest Caribbean born man?

The Black Jews of Israel

A Foster Carers Story

The Pardner Saving Scheme

Colin Powell: There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure. Henry Ford: Business Quotation Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich. "I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!" - Madam C.J. Walker, creator of a popular line of African-American hair care products and America's first black female millionaire Can African Caribbean businesses can escape from a victim mentality to mirror the successes of other minority communities who work together to win business. Dr Onyeani


Latest news from ACCOL Community Forum In September we organised a community forum meeting which was well attended, with twenty individuals/organisations involved. The evening was both a networking event, and an opportunity for those present to express their views on the future of ACCOL and priorities over the next year. Reach Programme REACH is a programme for Black boys and young Black men, to support and inspire them to raise their aspirations, attainment and achievement. Last year an independent group of 25 members of the Black community produced a report which resulted in the formation of REACH. They made five recommendations to improve the futures of Black boys and young Black men:     

improve the visibility of positive Black role models create stronger links between Black families and schools improve reporting on race equality in schools ensure strong ministerial oversight of action to implement REACH encourage third sector organisations that support young Black men to share their efforts

Government acted on the findings of the report and following national recruitment, 20 Role Models were appointed from a variety of occupations, including law, business and the media. In October, we submitted a successful application to the Black Training & Enterprise Group who administers the programme. This will enable us to gain access to one of the role models to work with young men of African Caribbean origin in Coventry.

Application to Modernisation Fund The Modernisation Fund is part of the Government's action plan for the third sector, “Real Help for Communities”, announced earlier this year. The £16.5m fund, being delivered by third sector infrastructure body Capacity Builders & is intended to help organisations that provide services to communities hit by the recession. We led on a partnership which included Foleshill Women’s Training, Bangladesh Centre, WATCH, Tamarind Centre & Grapevine. The purpose of the partnership was to investigate the potential of the organisations collaborating in order to tender for larger tranches of funding. We initially obtained £1000 to employ a consultant to work with us to seek organisations views on the partnership, and to examine the form it might take. The response from the organisations was positive, and so we applied for a second round grant of £10,000 to carry out more detailed work. This was successful, and we have engaged Dave Sternberg ex Coventry City Council to carry out more detailed work. Other Funding Applications We successfully assisted the Tamarind Centre to obtain a grant from Lloyds TSB Foundation for £30,000 over the next two years to increase their capacity to deliver outreach services We worked with Wood End Community Centre to obtain a grant of £1,800 from Heart of England Community Foundation towards their Christmas Celebrations Finally, we were notified by Coventry City Council that subject to Grant Aid Agreement they are able to fund us for a further 12 months i.e. to end March 2011 4

STEPHONE HUNKINS Positive Steps with Steph

follow up. The outcome being the creation of a new post for a specialist nurse to cater for African Caribbean people in terms of their needs in Hypertension, diabetes and related conditions. I lobbied the PCT for nine years and finally succeeded when I returned to Coventry in 2005.

Born in Trelawney, Jamaica. Stephone went to Duanvale Primary school and later, at the age of 15 went onto Warren Hall High School in Kingston (Jamaica). Steph arrived Other achievements include; in England in 1964 and came to Coventry in  being involved in the setting up of the 1967. West Indian Centre.  securing funds to set up and maintain a Stephone like many others faced racism but playgroup in the early days, which she had set herself a goal and had the functioned quite effectively until I determination to see it through. returned to lecturing in children's nursing. When asked what her greatest achievement  Writing a research proposal to the has been Steph recalled many things.  Department of Health, Ethnic Unit with Professionally having done her General the help of Angela Knight and supported Nursing training and becoming the first by Mr Harry Hall on behalf of the West black Ward Sister at Walsgrave. When she Indian Centre the proposal was put left Walsgrave she moved into health together in a few hours, but was success visiting, and then onto become a Health ful and was reported by the Minister of Visitor Lecturer at the then Coventry Health as one of the most well presented Polytechnic (now Coventry University) in successful proposals. 1984. She moved onto to teach general nursing at East Birmingham Hospital before Who has influenced you? returning to Coventry School of nursing as a Number one my parents, who instilled in my lecturer in child health. Steph later taught siblings and myself that we should achieve at the University of Portsmouth, specialising the highest goal in whatever we do. Profesin child health. sionally, the public health nurses in Jamaica All that I have achieved was dreamt up when I was 5 years old, sitting with my sister planning what I wanted to do. My inspiration was the Public Health nurses who came to give injections at the local health centre, I said I wanted to become one of them. My sister asked how I was going to achieve this, I said I’ll have to find out what qualifications are required and get them! So when I started working at Gulson Hospital I began to research what I had to do to become a Health Visitor (the equivalent to a public health nurse), I went through the various levels, but went further and got degrees and diplomas. Educationally my greatest achievement is undertaking my degree in 1988. With concern for African Caribbean people in terms of diabetes and hypertension, I wondered how I could bring these issues to the attention of the Health Authority so I went to Warwick University and undertook a Masters Degree in Sociological Research in Healthcare. I conducted research into the healthcare needs or Coventry Caribbean people. This further propelled me into applying for a grant as a

were my influence during my early childhood. In terms of Community, the Caribbean people that were here when I arrived in Coventry in 1967 namely, Mr Jacob Hylton, Mr Hugh Hay, Mr Harry Hall, Mrs Monica Nelson, Cyrpian and Sylvester Gooden. These people inspired me in the community work that I did then, and continue to do now. Apart from anything else, we used to patrol Broadgate at night especially at weekend to get youngsters off the street, to get them out of the way of the police and any other difficulties they may get themselves into. Also my daughter Justine who at the age of 6-8years used to wake me early in the morning and asked me if I had done my studies when I was undertaking my degree. Have you reached your goals? Both professionally and personally, I have achieved my goals. In terms of my professional and allied work, I have helped many 5

peoples personal and professionally development. I have also seen the development of people who I have supported through the education system. How difficult has it been to achieve your goals? Quite difficult in terms of moving forward in nursing at the time I watched about a dozen West Indian and half dozen African nurses ahead of me and I would notice that once they were qualified within 6 months their white counterparts would get Ward Sister Positions and they were left as staff nurses. So I decided what I was going to do to overcome this. I had to have something extra in terms of qualifications. I had resistance from local manager, so had to go to the Regional health Authority for support to on a Health Visitors Course, then the Health Visiting Teachers course and finally the Paediatrics Specialist Course. I had to finance my degrees myself , I used all my annual leave to attend Warwick University and almost as soon as I had finished my degree, my employer paid for 3 of my colleagues to do the same course with full pay and support!.

children of parents who I supported going through the same problems. They need to realise that they have a responsibility to themselves, their forebearers and the future generation. What would you say to someone who was thinking of becoming involved in community work? (1)look at what has gone on in the past, identify what the needs of the African Caribbean community are and unite with each other despite whether born here or in one of the different Caribbean countries. We need to get over the petty jealousy and need to recognise the ability of others. (2) We need to recognise the achievement of a few families in terms of what their children have achieved academically and use it to boost the youngster who are struggling now. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? Continuing to enjoy my retirement and the life that God has given me.

What keeps you going? My motivation for personal and community growth, to overcome personal and racial Endurances, to honour the name of the black people who came here in the 50s and 60s and struggled to make things better for us. What would be your advice to others? Set personal and community goals and work through them. Seek the help of others for mentorship and support. As professionals, seek to help others in your field and in any other way you can. Remember from whence you came. It is important to remember that one cannot be better that the worse person in your race. Never give up on what you want to achieve. Learn how to negotiate using the right terminology and legislation, be objective even in the presence of great provocation. What are your hopes and aspirations for the community? I hope that the young people coming up will study the system that they are in, make use of the education system to fulfil their aspirations, because I am now seeing

Steph has a masters in Psychotherapy and works as a cognitive behaviour therapist. She continues to work with under achieving and disaffected African Caribbean and Dual Heritage children supporting them in terms of how to deal with negative aspects of living in a multi racial society. She is continues to play a Community Advocacy role in Health, education underachievement This work is fuelled by her personal aspiration for the community as well as support given by Heart of England and Awards For All fund that has helped to 6 provide sessions for the young people.

Heslyns Hair Salon Heslyn arrived in the UK in the 1960s, she worked at GEC, but soon decided that she wanted to better herself and start her own business so she went to Birmingham to do a hairdressing course

obtain the premises, but they were lucky enough to secure it.

The salon has now diversified, into selling hair and make up products, they always used to do this but now have a whole floor dedicated to this. They are sole UK stockist for Miss Jessy (for In 1977, she set up a hairnatural hair) and Hicks Edges, dressing salon in her garage, they also stock more familiar but soon out grew the space and started looking for premises. She drew brands such as Mary Kay, Black Opal and up a business plan and approached the bank Flori Robers. for a loan. In 1978 she opened a shop in Hesylns currently employs 1 part-time stylist, Station Street, Foleshill. the other stylist rent chairs from them. Today the business is being managed by two of her children Karen & Nigel. Karen started What advice would you give to others? working in the shop in 1979, Nigel, who is a trained electrician started a few years later. “Set a goal and work hard. The hours will be Both Karen & Nigel are incredibly busy and unsociable because you have to make sure modest, but we managed to persuade Karen that everything is running smoothly, to be interviewed. sometimes it will be stressful, but it’s good to know that what you are doing is making How many people have you employed over people smile, and they comeback with their friends. You always have to put the customer the years? first. Often clients come in for a hairstyle Over the years Heslyns has employed well in and a chat, it cheers them up, a bit like counselling. excess of 20 people, and they have had numerous young people on work Customer service is a high priority in any experience . “We work closely with business—it’s all about the customer without Connexions”. them there is no business!” Do you think the salon will still be here in Karen has often had people comment that 10 years time? “they have never seen a black hair salon that looks like this”. The salon does not live up “Yes I think so, there are still lots of people wanting to come into the industry. We work to the stereotype of what a black salon closely with Henley College, City College and should be, it’s not a small salon, it’s not tucked away in a back street it is a big bright Coventry & Warwickshire Training”. modern salon in the heart of the City Centre. How have you been affected by the “The lord plays a big part in our success ‘recession’? without him we would not have survived. We “We have not really noticed a big difference, do hair, god brings the customers. We are all strong in our faith”. it has been steady throughout. Obviously utility bills have gone up, but we have maintained our prices, in fact we have not had an There are scores of stylists who have Heslyn to thank for their careers. increase for 4 years! We do student discounts on a Thursday and Friday, we even Karen said: "Lots of young people came allow people to bring their own relaxers in through the salon and were trained by our order to offer a cheaper rate”. mother. Heslyns moved to their new premises in 2000, at the time other people were keen to

She retired in her late 50s through ill health but she missed it. It was something she7 really loved."

Annette Hay Project Manager Institute of Community Cohesion Where were you born? Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry. Apparently, I was the third baby born in the hospital many, many years ago and received a silver spoon – which has since disappeared! I grew up in the Cheylesmore area of Coventry. Which school did you go to? Manor Park Junior School and Whitley Abbey Comprehensive What is your greatest achievement to date? My greatest achievement has been and will always be, being a mother to two daughters and a son. I have the most love and respect for all of them and I believe from all of them. I have tried my best to be a positive role model and to lead by example. I am not perfect by any means, but I believe that my children will see what I have done, in my personal, academic and professional life and that they will know that they can have all of what I have and much more. Who influenced/inspired you to achieve what you have? Lots of people, but my greatest inspiration has been having children. Even from a very young age, I remember being very determined that I wanted to pro-actively encourage them to do well academically, whilst at the same time, I wanted them to be confident and proud about who they are and where they come from. I didn’t want them to have to go through the same 'trials and tribulations' that me and others have had to. I felt then, as I do now, that the best way to do

probably a few more to come. But I think that’s the case for most people and as long as I don’t let these challenges stop me and I’m realistic in my ambitions – there’s no reason why I won’t continue aiming for my many goals in life. I don’t think I could ever say I’ve reached all of my goals, as I am always looking for new this was through example. Not challenges and new things to motivate and inspire me. just ‘talking the talk’ but ‘walking the walk’ too. I also have to give credit to my What have been your main parents who have had a strong challenges & obstacles? How influence on my life. I have have you overcome them? seen for myself, some of the challenges that they have There have been many personal faced, socially and emotionally challenges for me and my and how they have overcome children over the years and many of these challenges. My sadly, these have included the father in particular has had an premature death of some of influence on me, in terms of our nearest and dearest. HowEquality issues and my ever, for me, these challenges everlasting interest in the have also been my motivation changing dynamics of and Diversity. To be honest, there inspiration to carry on and live are too many influences and and love life as much as I can. inspirations to mention, so As well as having the love and apologies for not listing them support of family and friends all, but I would be here all day! who have been there when I Lastly, I have been inspired by was at my lowest. I actually learning about some of my appreciate that I am who I am, Black history, about numerous because of what I have Black Activists, Leaders and witnessed, experienced and Characters, from all over the imagined – that includes, the world and throughout the good, the bad and the ugly! So worlds history. It has been I can’t and don’t want to important for me to know that change it. there are so many Black men and women who have and who On a different note, there have continue to have, important, been many obstacles to my strong, positive and influential academic and professional roles in the world. achievements. Sometimes, this may have been due to making the wrong decision or relying How easy/difficult have you on other people too much, but found it to reach your goal many of these obstacles have and have you reached your come in the form of what has goal? become to be known as ‘institutional racism’. I believe It has definitely not been easy that as a Black woman I have for me to get to where I am been stereotyped and pigeon today, there have been many holed, throughout my educa‘trials and tribulations’ along the way and I’m sure there are tion and working life. Starting 8

school, where the teachers never acknowledge my academic abilities and never gave me credit when I did well, to the everlasting ‘glass ceiling’ that I keep trying to break through in my Professional life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing well – but I know I should be doing much better.

vision at this time. However, we have to recognise that things and times have changed and moved on and the Black community, is much more diverse and complex, than it ever used to be. So I hope that ‘the’ community recognises this, embraces it and uses this to our advantage and not as a negative thing.

What keeps you going?

What would you say to those who are not involved or maybe thinking about becoming involved in working/volunteering in a community organisation?

My own determination, my belief in myself and my personal pride, all keep me going. If I say I’m going to do something, I feel obliged to do it and to do it well – or shut up about it. I’ve already said that my 3 children (who are now all young adults) have kept me going too. And lastly, having lost so many people close to me without any warning at all, has given me a great appreciation of life and how short it is – so I haven’t got any time for feeling sorry for myself and what could or should have been. I want to spend the rest of my time here, talking about what else I’m going to do!

I would say, stop thinking about it and do it! I was actively involved in the Black Voluntary and Community Sector for over 20 years and although very difficult at times, with all of the internal politics and positioning, I loved working alongside likeminded people and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone.

At this point, I have to give a shout out to the Osaba Women’s Centre, which featured heavily in mine and my children’s lives for several years and which gave me an opportunity to learn What advice would you give to others? more about my culture and my history and My advice to others is, never give up on life and which also inspired me to go on to University to do a Degree, something that I would have never yourselves, no matter how bad things seem to believed possible. As well as creating so many be or get. It really, could be worse! Honestly! opportunities for me to meet and work with lots I think everyone should try and have some of interesting people, some of whom became goals or aims in life that they want to achieve. And when they know what they are, they should my friends. stay focussed on these goals and why they wanted to achieve them in the first place. It so Where will we see you in 10 years time? easy to get distracted, either by others, or other things that life throws at you and before you I’m not quite sure, but I’d like to think that no know it, you’re back to square one! matter where I am, I am still somehow, actively involved with the Black community – no matter how small the contribution. What are you hopes & aspirations for the community? Peace and love to One and All Annette I hope that the Black community and in particular the African Caribbean community, can reach a point in time whereby when we hear news reports, and statistical research breakdowns, we are only ever hearing news about how well the Black community is doing, in schools, work, politics and life in general. I’m not sure if that will be in my lifetime or not. But I would have never believed I would have lived to see a Black President of the United States of America – so never say never! I believe that I was fortunate to be around at a time, where the Black community appeared to be working together towards achieving this happening (somewhat) and I gained a lot of strength and 9

JERRY COTTRELL Tiler There cannot be many People in the community who does not know or as heard of ‘Jerry the tiler’, but here Jerry talks a little about his life and how he Got started in business. Jerrys' Grandfather was from Scotland but he was born in Kingston Jamaica. Jerry arrived in England in 1961 at Of 24.

September 1967. On his return Jerry was a lorry driver for a Leamington Company, but his former superintendent at GEC contacted him and persuaded him to go back. “It was a good job, but at the time 1970s, they were having too many strikes almost every two weeks there would be a strike. So I decided to leave and go back on the Jerry & his wife at the West Indian building side doing tiling. In Centres 25th Anniversary Dinner 1973, the guy I was working for went bankrupt and I took over the site the age myself.

Jerry’s Father was in the police force but also had a bike shop, Jerry worked in the shop until he was 18, when he left and went to learn tiling at a tile factory in Queens Street. He then went to St Jago Cement work in Spanish Town. His last pay packet on leaving Jamaica was £24, his first pay pack in the UK was £9! “My first job was with Coventry tile in Earlsdon, I did that for 2 days but it was too cold, I left there and got a job with Midland County Diary, after about 3 months I left and went to Owen Thornhill who made furniture for ships. I used to come home with £30 per week and would throw £15 for pardner (see page 22 for more about pardners), after about six months I bought a car. When the factory went bankrupt I went to work for GEC on nights. I worked there until January 1966 and went back to Jamaica for good. In 1962 Jerry had built a sound system and called it Count C the President. Through throwing 2 hands of pardner he was able to buy a 12 seater van that he hired out to take people out at weekends. He took the van and the sound to Jamaica. Like most people that arrived from the Caribbean Jerry only intended to stay for 5 years, but unlike most he actually did go back. For 8 months he used the van to carry farm workers to and from work and played the sound at weekends. But his wife could not settle and they came back to England in

How did you manage that? “I opened an account with Capitol Tiles and went to the bank and got an overdraft. When I started banks did not want to give more than £1,000 to black people, however a friend of mine introduced me to the BCC Bank (Bank of Credit & Commerce International), and straight away they gave me a £5,000 overdraft facility. An accountant once said to me “you have to give the taxman some money to keep them happy, the Taxman will put you out of business!”. Things were much better back then when you submitted an invoice on Monday you got paid by Friday. I had 2 lads working for me, and basically that’s how I started. I get a lot of work through recommendations. I’ve done work at Coombe Abbey, the Brillo Factory in Minehead, Regal Hotels, etc. Locally done work at West Indian Centre, Indian Community Centre, Mercia, etc, etc”. How difficult has it been to get business as a black person? “When I first started I put an advert in the paper, someone phoned up and when I went to do the quote they did not want to let me in, he asked “how do I know you are a tiler”. Well I said to him the only guarantee I can give is that I won’t take any money until the job is done. When the job was done he gave me £10 more than I asked for.10

Another example, I was given a job via Capitol Tile, when my mate and I arrive and gave the site manager the job card, he phoned capitol tiles and said “I asked for 2 tillers you sent me a black man and an Indian”, they said to him “no problem just sign the job card and send them back”. However they did let us do the job which was 3 massive big toilets, when we finished the job he called the office and apologised, and since then whenever they want work doing they always call us back. What advise would you give to other thinking of going into business? The system in the England is good if you are Fair to it. You have to do things right, register your business, get a good accountant who can do your books right and know what to claim for. Lots of companies have gone bankrupt owing me thousands of pounds, but to make money you have to go out and gamble. You must have public liability insurance, without it some companies will not let you work for them.

never have you hand in one basket”. Has the recession affected your business? Not at all really. Have you trained many people? “Yes over the years I have trained quite a few people, some have gone on to do really well; PJ who now runs PJ Tiles, Peter Nicely, Andy Smith and many others. I have tried to encourage some other young people but a lot of them don’t want to know. It is good to know that the people that have worked with me are now doing well. Finally will you still be tiling in 5 years time? “I don’t think so, I just do a bit now to keep me active and have a reason to get up in the mornings. I have two lads working for me that are very competent.

If I did not have determination I would not have anything today. The other thing you need is a supportive partner who can help you. My wife does all my quotes and invoicing and book-keeping. Be fair to people, I make sure that I pay my lads weekly, even though I don’t get paid until the end of a job. Would you encourage other to go into business?

The bar at the West Indian Centre, tiled by Jerry

“Of course I would”. You have to be fair to yourself and others. It’s good to be able to take other peoples money and make money, for example I can get £5,000 worth of tiles and make £15,000. You will have to do all sort of hours, sometimes seven days a week, but I would not do anything else but be self employed. If you are afraid of work don’t do it, and 11

Business Networking Event

In November, we organised a networking event, targeting the African Caribbean Business Community. The event was organised in partnership with Amazon Initiatives (The agency funded by Coventry City Council to deliver business advice to the City’s Ethnic Communities) Chamber of Commerce, & Enterprising Coventry. The event was well attended, with 40+ established or potential business present Highlight of the evening was an inspirational speech by Wade Lyn who is Managing Director of Cleone Foods who manufactures & sell a range of Patties. The company are really successful and among their clients are the large supermarket chains e.g. Sainsbury’s Tesco and Morrison’s and export foods to Spain.. Cleone Foods now employ 50 people in their modern premises in Hockley

“The key note speaker Wade Lyn was very inspiring and gave some great advice on how business minded people in our community can take their ideas forward and turn them in to a reality”.




networking, book-keeping and finance & Amazon Initiatives Limited was originally set up to appropriate legal structures. We also advise on sustainability planning for Small businesses. assist Women and particularly those of Ethnic Minority origins into Business Enterprise and Amazon has worked with Coventry’s Local Entercommunity enterprises. prise Growth Initiatives (LEGI) for the past 5 years. We have a team of Enterprise Coaches that give Our particular focus was to assist Women specialist support to make the business idea and primarily of ethnic minority backgrounds to dream of individuals come to reality. How do we alleviate poverty, we have a specialism in the assistance of these Women particularly into Social do it? We tailor our services to the needs of each individual client and it does not matter what level Enterprises. you are now, we nurture your idea with you. However, since 2006, and the coming of the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) programme into We also have Business Coaches who will come to you at your business premises and will work with Coventry, Amazon has also been able to provide you to help you grow your business and expand much needed support to Ethnic minority Men your customer base. The Business Coach will also. The need for Enterprise support for Ethnic help you develop your business planning, survival Minority Men also had long since been identified and growth strategies or help you to put a busias a real need for our City, however, we were not ness plan together if you do not already have one. able to do anything about it as funding did not allow, until the LEGI programme came along. At Amazon, our advice is at absolutely no cost to you our client and we can also offer you Free Now with the Help of ‘Enterprising Coventry specialist training courses to assist your under(incorporating LEGI) in is an organisation that gives support both male and female clients to set standing about setting up a business, writing a business plan, marketing and business finance. up their own business as well as those that are All our courses are run by experienced and already in business. We have been around for friendly trainers. over 8 years and have helped hundreds of businesses to start up and survive most especially Finally, there are many more opportunities we can in the present unpredictable economic offer you. A visit to Amazon Initiatives will surely environment. lift you to the next level in your business. Amazon Initiatives helps to empower individuals into self employment. We provide hand holding Contact Us At Amazon Initiatives Limited business support not just to individuals but to F5 Enterprise House, Foleshill Enterprise Park groups as well. At Amazon we give free professional business advice in various aspects of busi- Courtaulds Way, Coventry, CV6 5NX Tel: 024 76685889 ness including; start up, marketing, research, OR , Call the LEGI Helpline on: 0800 030 5344 business planning, pricing and selling strategy,


Who is the Richest Caribbean Born Man The honor probably goes to Michael LeeChin who was born in 1951 in Port Antonio Jamaica. Both his parents were biracial, Black and Chinese Jamaicans. When Lee-Chin was aged 7, his mother married Vincent Chen. Chen also had a son from a previous relationship, and the couple had a further 7 children together, 6 boys and 1 girl. His mother sold Avon products, and worked as a book-keeper for various local firms. His stepfather ran a local grocery store. He attended the local high school, Titchfield High, between 1962 and 1969. His first job came in 1965 working as part of the landscaping team at the Frenchman's Cove Hotel. In 1966 he got a summer job working on the Jamaica Queen cruise ship, cleaning the engine room.

from the Jamaican Government. In 2003, Senvia Money Services Inc., a global money transfer company was established. This was followed in 2004, by the acquisition of AIC Financial Group Limited, headquartered in Trinidad. In 2004, he announced plans to set up the AIC Caribbean Fund with the intention of investing in the entire Caribbean region. The stated aim of the fund is to raise US$1 billion in order to "make investments in businesses located in countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), with an emphasis on Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago”.

In 2006, Portland acquired an 85 per cent controlling stake in the United General Insurance Company, the largest auto insurer in In 1970 he went to Canada on a scholarship Jamaica, and renamed the firm Advantage program sponsored by the Jamaican General Insurance Company. A controlling Government to study Civil Engineering at interest in CVM Communications Group McMaster University, and graduated in 1974. (consisting of radio and television stations and He worked briefly as a road engineer for the Jamaican Government, but unable to find work newspapers) was purchased at the same time. Portland partnered with Risley Group to form in his qualified field (and allegedly, because his Canadian wife didn't like living in Jamaica), Columbus Communications Ltd. – a Barbadian he returned to Canada. At first he worked as a corporation that holds controlling interest in a number of telecommunications providers in bouncer, but later found employment as a the Caribbean including Cable Bahamas Ltd. financial advisor for Investors Group. Caribbean Crossings Ltd., Merit He spent two years at the Investors Group, in Communications Ltd and FibralLink Jamaica the Hamilton, Ontario office and in 1979, Ltd. moved to Regal Capital Planners and became regional manager. Whilst at the company, in 1983, he secured a loan from the Continental In the tourism sector, Michael guided Portland through a number of acquisitions in the Bank of Canada for C$500,000 to purchase a Caribbean. Among them are the hospitality stake in Mackenzie Financial Group and operations of the Trident Villas and Spa in formed Kicks Athletics with Andrew Gayle. By 1987, the investment was worth C$3.5 million. Jamaica also Reggae Beach and Blue Lagoon. Portland’s first acquisition in the health care industry sector was announced in July 2006, In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Jamaica when Medical Associates Ltd., a privately held went through a period of financial crisis. Leehospital in Kingston, Jamaica, joined the Chin saw potential in his native country, and formed Portland which purchased 75 per cent Portland Group. of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica for 6 billion Jamaican dollars (US$127 million) 15

Accolades and awards

Lee-Chin has received various business wards, including: 

 Being placed on the Forbes Billionaires list  

since 2001. In 2006, he was placed at number 365. In 2002, Lee-Chin received the 'Harry Jerome Award' for 'Business Leader of the Decade' Time Magazine named Lee-Chin one of 'Canada's Heroes' in July 5, 2004.

He is also a generous philanthropist, and has donated to various causes, including:  C$5 million to McMaster University (which

he attended) which awarded him an honorary masters degree in November 2003.  JMD$155 million (approx. USD $2.4 million) to Northern Caribbean University

Yvonne Thompson, CBE Yvonne has been described as Britain's first black self-made woman millionaire. She is Managing Director of the marketing and PR company ASAP Communications, and has a wealth of over £4 million. She is also a founder and former Director of Choice FM radio (which was sold for £28 million), president of the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners and Chairs various business committees. Yvonne set up the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO) in 1997 because "I did not have any black role models, I didn't have any like-minded black women that I could network with, that I could ask to be my mentor." She was inspired by a similar group in the US, where she met a room full of "400 powerful black women".

C$30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum which commissioned a new building named the Michael Lee Chin Crystal which opened on June 2, 2007. An unspecified amount of money that makes him one of the leading donors to Bill Clinton's William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation He was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the fund in 2003.

Private life In 1974, he married Vera Lee-Chin, a Ukrainian Canadian that he met at University. They parted in 1991, and officially separated (though did not divorce) in 1997. The couple had three children (Michael Jr., Paul, and Adrian). Lee-Chin now lives with Sonya Hamilton, with whom he has twin daughters, Elizabeth and Maria, in Flamborough, near Hamilton, Ontario, and Miami Beach, Florida.

How did you get into PR? “When I was 20 I went to an agency and got a job at Phonogram Records as PA to the contracts manager, and then I found my calling, which was PR. I moved to Warner Brothers and then to CBS, but I was a rarity, being black and a woman, and I realised I was never going to get anywhere. When I was refused promotion for the third time I went to the loo, cried my eyes out, and resigned”. Do you consider yourself successful? “I don't get up and think I'm a success, I do what I do, I have a target and I go for it. Yvonne’s experiences have made her angry in the past, but all the more determined to succeed.

"I feel that I've been quite - I keep wanting to say lucky but it is not luck at all it's bloody In being black and a woman, she feels that she hard work - so I think that I am reaping what I have put in." had a "double whammy" of obstacles to overcome.


The Black Jews of Israel In 1984 approximately 8000 Black Ethiopian Jews made Aliyah to Israel from Ethiopia. Aliyah is a Hebrew word meaning returning to Israel. The Black Jews who refer to themselves as Beta Israel - the house of Israel are known in Ethiopia as Falashas (strangers, aliens). The operation known as Moses followed the Israeli Commission to officially recognize the Beta Israel as Jews under Israel's Law of Return, a law designed to aid Jewish immigration to Israel. Much of the history of the Beta Israel is unknown and subject to much academic debate. Some of the theories regarding their origin are that  

They may be the lost Israelite tribe of Dan. They may be descendants of Menelik, son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba. They may be descendants of Ethiopian Christians and pagans who converted to Judaism centuries ago. They may be descendants of Jews who fled Israel for Egypt after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE and eventually settled in Ethiopia.

As early as the 16th century, Egypt's Chief Rabbi declared that in Halachic (Jewish legal) issues, the Beta Israel were indeed Jews. In 1855, Daniel ben Hamdya, a member of the Beta Israel, was the first Ethiopian Jew to visit Israel, meeting with a council of rabbis in Jerusalem concerning the authenticity of the Beta Israel. By 1864, almost all leading Jewish authorities, most notably, accepted the Beta Israel as true Jews. In 1908 the chief rabbis of forty-five countries had heeded Rabbi Hildsheimer's call and officially

threat of war, famine, and horrendous health conditions (Ethiopia has one of the world's In 1975, A Chief Rabbi Shlomo worst infant mortality rates and doctor to patient ratios), the Goren wrote to the Beta Israel Beta Israel's position became telling them, “You are our brothers, you are our blood and more precarious as time progressed. our flesh. You are true Jews.” Later that same year the Israeli The government began to Interministerial Commission slightly soften its treatment of officially recognized the Beta Israel as Jews under Israel's Law the Jews, however, during the of Return, a law designed to aid mid-1980's when terrible in Jewish immigration to Israel. famines wreaked havoc on the economy. Ethiopia was forced The Beta Israel were ready to to ask Western nations for come home. famine relief, including the United States of America and Indeed, the Beta Israel were Israel, allowing them both to strictly observant in preTalmudic Jewish traditions. The exert a modicum of pressure women went to the mikvah, or for the release of the Beta Israel. Over 8,000 Beta Israel ritual bath, just as observant came to Israel between 1977 Jewish women do to this day, and 1984. But these efforts and they continue to carry out pale in comparison with the ancient festivals, such as modern exodus that took place Seged, that have been passed down through the generations during 1984's Operation Moses. of Beta Israel. The Kesim, or religious leaders, are as widely revered and respected as the Operations Moses and Joshua great rabbis in each commuOperation Moses began on nity, passing the Jewish cusNovember 18, 1984, and ended toms through storytelling and six weeks later on January 5, maintaining the few Jewish 1985. In that time, almost books and Torahs some com8,000 Jews were rescued and munities were fortunate enough brought to Israel. But the misto have written in the liturgical sion was not without problems. language of Ge'ez. Because of news leaks (blamed primarily on a December 6 article in the Washington Jewish In the early 1980's, Ethiopia forbade the practice of Judaism Week and full page advertiseand the teaching of Hebrew. ments placed by the United Numerous members of the Beta Jewish Appeal), the mission Israel were imprisoned on ended prematurely as Arab fabricated charges of being nations pressured the Sudanese “Zionist spies,” and Jewish government to prevent any religious leaders, more Jews from using Sudan to go to Israel. Almost 15,000 The situation remained exceed- Jews were left behind in ingly bleak through the early Ethiopia. 1980's. Forced conscription at age 12 took many Jewish boys Thus, by the end of Operation away from their parents, some Moses in January 1985, almost never to be heard from again. two-thirds of the Beta Israel Additionally, with the constant remained in Ethiopia. They were recognised the Beta Israel as fellow Jews.


comprised almost entirely of women, young children, and the sick, since only the strongest members of the community were encouraged to make the harrowing trek to Sudan where the airlift actually occurred. In addition, many young boys were encouraged to make the dangerous trek to freedom due to the low age of conscription, often as young as age twelve. Operation Solomon—The Fulfilment of a Dream The grim prospect of thousands of Jewish children growing up separated from their parents in Israel almost became a reality. Little could be done to persuade the Ethiopian government to increase the trickle of Jews leaving the country. In November 1990, Ethiopia and Israel reached an agreement that would allow Ethiopian Jews to move to Israel under the context of family reunification. Following the civil war in Ethiopia the new government of Yitzhak Shamir authorized a special permit for the Israeli airline, El Al, to fly on the Jewish Sabbath. On Friday, May 24, and continuing non-stop for 36 hours, a total of 34 El Al jumbo jets and Hercules C-130s—seats removed to accommodate the maximum number

of Ethiopians. Operation Solomon, named for the King from whom one of the theories suggest that the Beta Israel draw their lineage, ended almost as quickly as it began. Timing was crucial, since any delay by Israel could have allowed the rebels to hold the Jews as bargaining chips with Israel or the United States. A total of 14,324 Ethiopian Jews were rescued and resettled in Israel, a modern exodus of the grandest design. Operation Solomon rescued twice the number of Jews in Operation Moses and Joshua, in a mere fraction of the time.



people has helped her to deal with the challenges of fostering. She has also been Jessica is a busy young woman. A civil Through the training engineer by profession, she also finds time to programme at Coventry be a foster carer for Coventry children. Caring Fostering Service. "The has always been part of Jessica's life. Her course on understanding parents, who came to the UK from St Vincent, fostered on and off for years while Jessica was children's behaviour was particularly good and really useful," growing up. She also helped to look after her Comments Jessica. "And sister who is 10 years younger. And at seconbecause you can access dary school she was involved in a scheme to support young people with learning difficulties. some of the training online I was able to fit it round my work hours." Support is available through Jessica's supervisJessica moved to Coventry in 2000 to study ing social worker who is "wonderful and very engineering at university and has lived in here efficient". She has regular contact with her ever since. About three years ago, aged 25, social worker and can call her to talk through she spotted an advert for foster carers in the any issues which come up. local paper and decided to get in touch with Coventry Fostering Service. "I thought that as Jessica's parents are also part of her support a single woman I might not be eligible to foster," explained Jessica, "but they were happy network. "I sometimes ring them up and apologise for the things I did as a teenager," to hear from me." says Jessica. "Fostering has made me appreciate what my parents did for me." During the recruitment process Jessica was encouraged to develop her experience of workSince she started fostering, Jessica has met her ing with children. This led her to the West partner Andy. And he has now been approved Indian Community Centre where she as a foster carer so that they can share the volunteered to work for their supplementary responsibility of looking after Shannon. "Andy's school, CLASS. As a result, she now uses her parents were foster carers too so he's very engineering background to offer Maths tuition supportive," says Jessica. "He is a calming to young people in the community. influence and great at helping Shannon with her homework." Because of Jessica's work commitments she was approved a part-time foster carer. This means she offers regular short breaks to other Describing herself as 'very patient' by nature, Jessica says one of the hardest parts of fosterfoster families or to birth families and is able ing is being consistent. "When you have to set to combine work and fostering. At the boundaries and keep saying 'no', it is difficult. moment Jessica is fostering a 13 year old girl But it is important that Shannon knows what to one weekend every month. "Shannon (not her real name) has made the spare room her own," expect. I am also learning to take a step back and let her make mistakes. It's part of helping laughs Jessica. "Lots of posters and pink her to grow." cushions. She is a typical teenager, negotiating to go out with friends on Saturday afternoon. We try and have a routine, so we always go food shopping on Friday when she arrives and do lots of cooking over the weekend. I know that Shannon feels comfortable in our house." Jessica's experience of working with young

Jessica sees fostering as part of her life for the foreseeable future. And she has this message for people who are thinking about becoming a foster carer. "Fostering is very rewarding. Be open minded, don't expect everything to go smoothly and remember there's always someone to support you."

Jane Francis, Recruitment Team Manager for Coventry Fostering Service, explains why African Caribbean foster carers are so important. "A significant number of Coventry children in foster care have dual White/African Caribbean heritage or are from African Caribbean families. At the moment there aren't enough full-time or part-time foster carers from similar backgrounds to look after these children. We need more carers like Jessica who can support the children's culture and heritage. And who understand the practical issues of caring for African Caribbean children - like hair care and cooking familiar Caribbean food." If you are thinking about fostering you will need a spare bedroom for the foster child, a stable home life and the skills to support a child in care. 19

For an informal chat about fostering, please call Coventry Fostering Service on 024 7678 5577 or visit for more information.

DEV BARRETT Dev Barrett's Karate & Keep Fit Centre

ECKA Chief Instructor & Grading Examiner EKF Qualified Chief Instructor 7th Dan Black Belt (IBK) 6th Dan Black Belt (ECKA) World Middleweight Champion (Full Contact) European Challenge Cup Champion British Champion (Full Contact)

Dev was born in Sheffield, Westmorland in Jamaica. He came to England in 1962 at the age of 10.

they did not work in a factory. I decided I wanted to be an electrician, but my careers advisor tried to persuade me to become a mechanic, however I stuck to my guns and went on to do CSEs. When I left school I got a job as a category 1 apprentice at Lee Beesleys. As an apprentice you were expected to work for 6-12 weeks in the yard doing stock taking, cleaning, sorting out stuff, etc. I was the only black person in the group that started at the time. My Father was very strict we were not allowed to watch TV until we had done our chores and done them properly, so I was disciplined into making sure that everything was done properly, this was noticed at work and because of that when someone got injured on site I was sent out, so I ended up only doing 2 weeks in the yard. Eventually I started working side by side with the Site Foreman, I learnt so much from him about life in general. I was able to use what I had learnt from him when I later went onto work at D G Shipton as a Foreman”. So how did you get into Karate/Kickboxing?

I started doing kick boxing because in those days when you got on the bus late at night Jamaica a few years before coming to England) there was always drunks onboard and I felt I Dev went to Little Heath Primary School, which needed to be able to fight if necessary. I met he found really difficult, no one told him what a friend who was doing karate and he invited me along, so I ended up doing Karate, Kickto do or what to expect, teachers did not boxing, all at the same time as well as workexplain things very well. He was one of only three black children in the school, his brother ing. I got picked for the national squad for kick boxing but all the matches and training and another boy who was in the year above. were on a Saturday which was difficult for me He then went onto to Broad Street School (now Sidney Stringer), where, once he settled to fit in with work. in he really enjoyed, “I was head of Red House and Ken Matthews was head of Yellow House”. I started teaching Karate as a hobby, but on a trip to America I saw people successfully I also became school prefect and was later teaching full-time, so when I got back to voted house captain. I also played Rugby for England I also started teaching full-time, this the first team, which meant I had special was in 1982. I rented space at various places; privileges. There were some good teachers there. There was a lot going on race wise, but Longford School 2 nights per week, Balsall you didn’t really notice it. The teachers would Common Church Hall 1 night per week a Youth Centre in Rugby 1 night per week and not stand for any nonsense. on a Saturday I went to a Community Hall in Milton Keynes. In my head I always wanted to be an (Dev (right) with his Grandmother & brother Roy taken in

electrician, this was planted to a degree by the school because when we had lessons to do with careers, you were told that’s your limit. Even though I was always in the A stream you were told that you could either work in a factory or go into a trade and anyone that you came into contact with family wise were either mechanics or carpenters if

As things went from good to better I looked into getting my own premises, I tried to get funding, but it did not happen there was always an excuse why they could not fund me the goal post kept moving every time I met one criteria they would come up with another. 20

In the end I went to the bank and got a loan”. Did you have any problems getting the loan? “ I don’t remember having a major problems, but looking back the interest rate was unbelievably high. I managed to secure premises at Lower Ford Street, got in touch with a brewery and set up a bar. I did not want the premises to be just karate and keep fit, I wanted the social element as well. We used to keep dance, which my brother would play at, but every time we held a dance there would be a compliant. We did everything we could to reduce noise, but still we would get complaints, we even got complaints on days when the club was not open!. I personally went and knocked on the door of people living in the vicinity to let them know that if they had a problem they should phone me, but then I ended up in court charged with intimidation, for which I was fined. After that we held back from the parties for a while, but then I got a letter from the Council telling us that the clubs sign was 1½ bricks too low, I decided not to move the sign as it had been up for quite sometime, but again I ended up in court with a £50 fine”. Around this time Dev was invited to Italy , to do a TV advert about Karate. He used to teach in Rome a couple of times per year, the people there were so friendly and welcoming towards him as a black person that it lifted his spirits and put into perspective the racism he appeared to be facing here.

met an instructor who taught Elvis Presley I asked him what the main thing was to becoming a successful instructor, without hesitation he said “care about your people”. “I think if people see more black people in business they too would consider it, we need mentors and role models. What is your greatest achievement to date? “Greatest achievement in sporting terms is obviously winning the World Title at Wembley Conference in 1983, not only that I was the first British fighter to win in the ring, previously matches were fought on mats. I was invited to Russian, when sanctions were lifted and they were able to take part in sports, I went to Moscow to fill them in on what was going on in the rest of the world, this was a great honour. Because of my experiences and travels I had picked up odd words which helped me to be able to communicate whilst I was there. The interest thing is that once they found out I was born in Jamaica and not British peoples attitude towards me changed they were far more friendly”. Who has influenced you most? Obviously my parents, my mother especially. The Rugby captain at Broad Street and Bunny Johnson the first black boxer to win a British title made me realise that you can get somewhere in this country. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

In 1999 when the landlord sold the premises due to redevelopment in the area, Still involved in the sport probably not Dev moved to his present premises at the teaching possibly more in an advisory role. Forum. I used to be far more involved in the community, I was really delighted when this Why do you think there are not more was recognised earlier in the year when I was presented with an award during the black businesses in Coventry? Obama Inauguration celebrations at the West Indian Centre. “I think there is something about people having the confidence to know that they can do it. When I started I did not think of it as a business it was just something I loved doing. Before going into business I 21

The Pardner Saving Scheme The pardner also known as; ’boxhand’, has been important as it has in many cases, allowed people from the Caribbean to afford necessities such as food, clothes and shelter (as mentioned earlier in Jerry;s article).

But how? Well, there are two ways to answer this question. The first way to find the answer would be to ask any of the older generations of Caribbean citizens who left their respected countries for these cold shores of England in the late 1950`s, and possibly earlier. They would possibly sit you down and say “Bwoy let me tell you bout di pardner”.

The spirit of this scheme was TRUST. It was never a factor which needed to be discussed once the members were in agreement the pardner began. Some members would throw a double hand. For instance a 20 member, 20 week, £10 pound pardner scheme would allow a member to make two £10 instalments (double hand) if they desired.

The second would be to read on..... Caribbean immigrants were excluded from much of the social and economic life around them, when they arrived in post-war Britain because of racism. As a result they were forced to create their own social institutions from churches, "shubeens" for socialising, hairdressers and barber shops through to a mutually supportive method of saving called the 'pardner' system. The pardner system enabled a group of people to pool their money and save together to raise sums far larger than they would have been able to save alone. They would take it in turns to withdraw large sums of money -'draw pardner' from the money saved up. As the system is ongoing and savings are paid into the system on a regular basis, when the total amount was replenished following a payment to someone another member of the group would then be able to 'draw pardner' - and so on.

This would enable them to receive two draws from the scheme. You then simply chose your week to which you wanted your payout, and in this case a single hand throw would be £200.00. Effectively it was your own money, on an interest free saving scheme but it was an effective means of saving. Some of the main uses for the money were to send it back home to relatives, send barrels of essentials such as toiletries which were expensive in their homelands in those times. And in many cases the money was used to purchase property. Let’s remember the hard work, and suffering of those early arrivers who strived to achieve, as perfect an upbringing of their children on both sides of the world as they could under the circumstances they faced, during their hard and sometimes traumatic struggle when they settled in England.

Congratulations to Vibert Cornwall who has been awarded a Certificate of Honour from the Prime Minister of St Vincent & The Grenadines in recognition of his contribution to St Vincent.


Job/Volunteering Opportunities

Bar Staff Required for weekend shifts and occasional weekdays at the West Indian Centre. Must be smart, reliable and friendly. Previous experience of bar work is desirable but not essential as training will be given if necessary. All applicants must be UK citizens or hold an EU Work Permit.

The African Caribbean Centre in Leamington is looking for a couple of volunteers to work with young people in the Recording Studio they will need to have experience of, Logic, Fruity Loops, Abbledon Live, etc and will have to have a CRB check. If you are interested give them a call on 01926 313200 or email

Contact: Alph Knight or John Hartley on 024 7655 2929 or 07843239975

CLASS is always looking for volunteers—do you have experience of working with young people? Do you need to gain experience as part of your studies? If yes then please contact us CLASS, 159 Spon Street, Coventry, CV1 3BB Tel: 07956 511921

The Local Jobs Team are at the West Indian Centre every other Friday between 1pm & 3pm with the latest local job opportunities. Tel: 024 7655 2929 to find out


Contact us at: African Caribbean Community Organisation Ltd c/o Coventry West Indian Centre 159 Spon Street Coventry CV1 3BB T: 024 7622 3020 M: 079 0386 8802 Email: Website:


Winter Edition  

Winter edition of ACCOL Community Magazine

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