The Pennants Project
For the past 5 years NWJS founder member, Liz Millman, has worked to explore ways to raise much needed funds for essential items for the two schools in the tiny village of Pennants (1).
This area has close historical ties to estates in North Wales that benefitted from the enormous wealth generated between the 16th and 20th centuries, which for the most part used enforced African slave labour. The schools in the rural areas of Clarendon face real challenges today, with great pressures on their budgets and many financial constraints. However despite all this their academic achievements are very good.
Liz has visited schools in the area and met School Principals and Ministry of Education Officials to negotiate setting up links with schools in North Wales.
In 2014, Leonora Headly, Chair of the PTA at John Austin School in Pennants visited North Wales, visiting schools and meeting local people.
Here she is meeting Jeannie Evans from Ysgol Gymuned Fali. Mrs Headly was delighted with the warm welcome she received and thanked the North Wales Jamaica Society for their hard work and efforts. “This appeal will make a great difference to our schools".
The Jamaican Ministry of Education and the British Council were are also supporting the development of links, including twinning schools in our area of Jamaica with schools in North Wales under the “Widening Horizons” programme”. However in recent years the British OCuncil has stopped providing funding support for Jamaican links.
John Wyer, Chair of the North Wales Jamaican Society, made sure that Mrs Headly saw some of the great scenery we have in North Wales.
Learning Links International still facilitiates linking and some schools, but without funding this is proving challenging.
The North Wales Jamaica Society plans to put on events and activities to support fund raising, and individuals will also consider making contributions as partners in this appeal, recognising that support and assistance for these schools is very much needed, and this project also acknowledges the shared histories of Jamaica and North Wales, giving schools opportunities to learn about Black History.
(1) This village is situated on what was the Pennants Plantation. This was owned by the North Wales based Pennant family, who invested much of their wealth in projects in Gwynedd, including building Penrhyn Castle.