The Sheffield and District African-Caribbean Community Association has a long and distinguished history. It emerged from the West Indian Association in 1984, which in turn had evolved from an organisation known as the Coloured People’s Association.
Students and settlers from the African Continent and the West Indies formed the Coloured People’s Association in 1953 and it aimed to promote the social welfare of coloured people in Sheffield. To this end it organised a range of social, educational and cultural activities that reduced isolation, emphasised belonging and self worth and promoted culture. Full membership was open to anyone of African descent and associate membership to friends who shared the aims of the organisation.
The Coloured People’s Association gave way to the West Indian although it is not entirely clear why this occurred. There are suggestions that it was to define the organisation more closely and therefore concentrate upon a smaller, more distinct group of people.
The late 60s and 70s were years of real progress for the West Indian Association. In the early 1970s, for instance, the Association moved to a more permanent base at Oxford Street (although this was 2 prefabricated ‘huts’) and in 1978 took up occupancy of the upper floor of the Philadelphia Centre, West Don Street, in Netherthorpe.
This period saw an expansion in the range of Association activities that included: monthly film shows that featured individual Caribbean islands, weekly discussions on topical issues of the day and regular socials.
A Women’s Group was started based on the idea that Women had issues and activities pertinent to them that they needed space to discuss and carry out. Similarly a Men’s Group was formed to provide opportunities for middle aged and older men to discuss their issues and share hobbies and past-times.