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The Prince and Princess of Wales visit school in Cardiff

Credit: Cardiff Council

This week, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited The Grange Pavilion and the new Fitzalan High School, to mark the start of Black History Month and to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush to the UK.

In the first of two engagements in the city, Their Royal Highnesses visited The Grange Pavilion in Grangetown where pupils from Howardian, Grangetown and St Paul’s Primary Schools gathered to greet them.

Credit: Cardiff Council

The Prince and Princess of Wales met members from the Windrush Cymru Elders, Black History Cymru 365 and the Ethnic Minority Youth Forum for Wales to hear about the incredible contribution the Windrush generation has made in Welsh communities and learn about how young minority ethnic individuals are creating positive change in Wales.

They also met with young people involved in the Ethnic Minority Youth Forum, a youth advisory panel for Race Council Cymru, local young people from the Somali community and members of Wales Somaliland Youth Links and Cardiff Bay Warriors FC.

Credit: Cardiff Council

The Royal couple then made their way to the new Fitzalan High School where they heard from pupils about the work they have been doing around black history and learnt about the vocational courses and opportunities provided at the school.

Credit: Cardiff Council

In September 2023 the new £64m school building opened its doors to pupils for the first time. Jointly funded by Cardiff Council and Welsh Government, it is Cardiff’s latest scheme to be delivered under the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme, providing a range of state-of-the-art facilities to help pupils achieve their highest potential.

A number of pupils in the school are direct relatives of the Windrush Cymru Elders and are from a variety of cultural backgrounds with 70% of pupils speaking English as a second language.

During the visit, Their Royal Highnesses heard from sixth form pupils working in different subject areas both in A Level and vocational studies before visiting the schools brand new immersion room where they listened to a history lesson looking at life in Tiger Bay, a key area where the Windrush Generation lived, and the importance of learning about their cultural heritage.

The Prince and Princess met teachers and pupils working across a number of projects at the school, including the gardening project which aims to encourage young pupils to learn how to grow plants and food from scratch.

Credit: Cardiff Council

Finally, Their Royal Highnesses saw the new entrance gate that was designed in partnership with London designer, Lara Sparey and pupils from the school to embody ‘What does Fitzalan Mean to Us’? with a variety of symbols and artwork to represent the school and Wales.

Credit: Cardiff Council

The RT Honourable Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Bablin Molik was present for the royal visit to Fitzalan High School. Reflecting on the day she said: “It has been an honour to welcome The Prince and Princess of Wales to Cardiff today, showcasing some of the fantastic community projects that are helping to shape the future of Cardiff.

“Their visit to the brand-new home for Fitzalan High Schoolprovided the opportunity to shine a light on the extensive range of opportunities on offer to pupils at the school and the great work that is being delivered through the school’s curriculum on black history month and the Windrush generation.”

Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Tackling Poverty, Equality and Public Health, Cllr Julia Sangani, added: “As Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities, I am delighted that The Prince and Princess of Wales have marked the start of Black History Month here in Cardiff and have publicly celebrated the city’s connection and appreciation for the Windrush community.

“Cardiff is rich in multi-cultural communities and is a city that prides itself on inclusion and diversity. Today has seen a number of community groups and local people sharing their experiences and the work that is being done toensure people from different backgrounds have positive relationships, which goes towards helping our city to thrive.

“Black History Month will be celebrated city-wide throughout the month of October as we celebrate and reflect on black history, learning from the past to improve the future.”

The Grange Pavilion is a partnership project between Grange Pavilion Project, Grangetown Community Action, Cardiff University and Cardiff Council which has seen the redevelopment of a previously vacant bowls pavilion into a community facility. The space offers a community café, employment and training opportunities and has become a key meeting place for the Ethnic Minority Youth Forum, Windrush Cymru Elders and Black History Cymru 365 for Wales.

The Windrush Cymru Elders was established in 2017 as part of Race Council Cymru which aims to promote the understanding of ethnic minority elders’ concerns and needs whilst also celebrating the contributions of the Windrush Generation and people of African descent in Wales.