Records of the Community Roots Trust

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of records related to the running of the organisation, information on related projects, and supplementary documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Community Roots Trust (CRT) was set up in 1977. The charity had the aim to improve the management and service delivery of community self-help projects with particular reference to the needs of ethnic minority communities. The organisation operated at a national level and had units based in London, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and High Wycombe.

The Trust offered support and resources for various community groups through a number of activities and provisions. These included day care centres, youth provision, elderly projects, single parent projects, performance and visual arts, placements, and community enterprise. Community Roots Trust formed project relationships with other relevant projects such as the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), and was a constituent member of Black Business in Birmingham (3Bs)

Initially the Trust was run in a voluntary capacity. Funds were promised by the Commission for Racial Equality but never released by the Home Office. Despite this dire situation CRT managed to provide an advisory service for groups, and run two sets of courses - the first for black group workers and management committees, the second geared toward the white officials who interacted with them. The organisation saw itself as pioneering race awareness training in Britain. In 1981 the Trust received funding from the Manpower Services Commission, and from the Inner City Partnership (ICP) in 1983. Initially the Trust and its activities were concentrated in Birmingham, spreading to other areas of the country in the early 1980s.

Studies conducted by CRT in the early 1980s reflected a consensus of dissatisfaction regarding the media representation of the African-Caribbean community in the aftermath of the uprisings in 1981. In 1982 a number of community and arts groups assembled to discuss the problem and how to provide sufficiently for the needs of the Caribbean community. It was concluded by this session that a community radio station was one way to enable the essential to happen. At this point the Afro-Caribbean Radio Project (ACRP) was born.By 1984 the ACRP had a constitution, elected officers and established meetings. It received assistance from the Greater London Council's Community Radio Project. ACRP was incorporated on 3 March 1986 and at that point was run by a council of management.

Walter BakerWalter Baker was born in Cuba and spent many years studying and teaching zoology in Canada and England. Dr Baker worked professionally in community development in Africa, the Caribbean, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and had an active involvement in community arts groups. While at CRT Baker acted as Community Programme Manager and Director of Community Programmes Division. He resigned from the Trust in September 1986, but remained a member of the team in a voluntary capacity.

This administrative history was compiled from information held within the collection.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research but is currently held offsite. Readers are strongly urged to contact Black Cultural Archives in advance of their visit. For material that is stored off-site,advance notice of at least a week is needed in order to retrieve this material.

The reading room is open for access to archive materials Wednesdays-Fridays, 10am-4pm. The reading room is also open late every second Thursday of the month, 1pm-7pm.

Please email the archivist to book an appointment archives@bcaheritage.org.uk

Personal Names