LEARNING LINKS INTERNATIONAL CIC
CYSYLLTIADAU DYSGU RHYNGWLADOL
ANNUAL STATEMENT February 2019 – January 2020
Learning Links International CIC (LLI) has achieved the programme we set out for our ninth year and as well as having the opportunity to undertake a significant piece of community research in Mid Wales. This project was very interesting, innovative for us, enjoyable and at times challenging. We were faced with situations where we needed to quickly extend our ambitions because of the very positive responses we received. Equally we were challenged at times to be mindful of others’ opinions and constructive comments about our need to work in ways which we hadn’t tried before. We were also able carry on working on other threads and opportunities during the year. We continued to work mainly in North Wales, developing our approach in education/entertainment related to telling the stories of our “shared histories” and exploring more formal research activities.
Our team of Directors communicate regularly and are actively involved in decision making, but our geographic locations make it difficult to meet together, however our Directors undertook our main review in August when Liz, Sue and Caroline were able to spend time together, linking with Natalie and Ray exploring the use of What’sApp / Messenger / Skype.
Caroline Sansome took a leading role as one of the Project Officers managing the National Lottery Heritage Funded project ‘From Sheep to Sugar’ managing support for the Community research Volunteers, and managed the application for a successful National Lottery Celebration initiative to celebrate and develop writing in the Ogwen Valley, in Gwynedd North Wales.
Ray Olayinka continues to take an active interest in all we do and continues to make a significant contribution with his PhD research in “Knowledge Management” applying this and his knowledge of West African history which continues to be a great asset to us.
Natalie Fagan Brown has continued to support all our endeavours and made a significant contribution to the ‘From Sheep to Sugar’ project exploring African and Caribbean links.
Sue Barnes, although facing health challenges during the year, has continued to keep a focus on governance and management of the organisation as a social enterprise and our increased engagement of volunteer support.
Liz Millman continues to lead as Development Director, with a focus on networking, finding funding sources and managing our projects. Liz worked with Caroline to manage the ‘From Sheep to Sugar’ project which carried out extensive research to explore the production of woollen fabric called ‘Welsh Plains’ that was used to clothe enslaved Africans. Liz has also been working with Rotary International to explore possibilities to support the ‘Pennants Project’ and also gained additional funds from the Douglas Pennant Family Foundation which was used to build a wall and securely fence the grounds of John Austin All Age School.
Caroline and Liz supported the visit of Yasus Afari, Founder of the Jamaica Poetry Festival, and managed the ‘Jamaica Wales Alliance Black History Month 2019 Tour’
We thanked Sophie Bickle Grey for her support and arranged for Crestmere Ltd. to take on our bookkeeping, as well as preparing and presenting our accounts. We give special thanks to Barrie Buels for his support and efforts to ensure that we can continue to work within our agreed aims.
We have continued to develop our position in Wales by working to improve our community networking and engagement. At times during the year it proved difficult to keep all the balls in the air, but the Learning Links International team members based in Wales made every effort to continue to give support to the North Wales Jamaica Society, the North Wales Association for Multi-Cultural Integration, Race Council Cymru. Liz supported the establishment of North Wales African Society and is a committee member.
The Advisors, volunteers and others we can call on for support has grown significantly during the time that the ‘From Sheep to Sugar’ project was running, and we thank every one of them.
Although Learning Links International has fully embraced Race Council Cymru’s Black History Cymru 365 initiative, it was disappointing that this was not recognised, however we supported Black History Month with the support of a small Arts Council Wales grant.
These projects have given us opportunities to achieve the purpose and initial aims stated in our Community Interest Company (CIC) as a social enterprise, “to provide benefit to a number of sections of the UK community, as well as the communities we are working with internationally”: see Appendix 2
Our main activities during the year have been managing and disseminating the ‘From Sheep to Sugar’ research, developing the Jamaica Wales Alliance initiative, reviving work on Welsh and Jamaican poetry links with respect and recognition of Caribbean and African languages, recognising Windrush Day with Windrush Words, working with Yasus Afari on the ‘Building Bridges’ project and working with Rotary International Clubs to support the Pennants Project.
Our sincere thanks go to Yasus Afari, for his continued support during the year. We are sincerely grateful for the very significant contribution he has made in developing the work of Learning Links International and the advice, challenges and wisdom he has freely given.
Prepared by the Directors of Learning Links International CIC 8 / 7 /2019
Please click on the link below for the extended 2019 - 20 report of activities with Appendix 1 and Appendix 2
Learning Links International CIC Annual Report 2015 - 16
Learning Links International CIC Annual Report 2014 - 15
Learning Links International CIC Annual Report 2013 - 14
Learning Links International CIC Annual Report 2012 - 13