What we do
Descendants is an arts-focused educational project aimed at children and young people aged 4-18 years primarily – though not exclusively – of African and Caribbean descent. During the weekly sessions our main focus is on African and Caribbean culture; we explore history, we experiment with art, craft, music, drama and dance.
We encourage children and young people to develop a sense of pride in their abilities through increasing their self confidence. We also aim to increase their knowledge of their history and ancestry, by urging them to appreciate the accomplishments made by their ancestors. Our children are also encouraged to celebrate and recognise the positive achievements of role models in the community today.
At Descendants we aim to make sure that all who attend our projects are able to attain the UK Government’s Every Child Matters outcomes.
- We hold our club meetings every Friday 6.00pm – 8.00pm during school terms.
- We run holiday projects
- We run educational activities
- We run inspirational projects
- We organise educational trips for children and young people
- We offer support to children and their parents
- We work with, and run projects in partnerships with other organisation
- We offer a mentoring service to young people in small groups and one to one
Over the years Descendants and its children, have experienced many amazing opportunities, some significant ones are listed below:
- Performance at Royal Albert Hall for Patti Boulaye – “Reaching Out for Africa” Parents also sang in the 5,000 strong choir.
- 2000 – Performance for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee at The Mall, central London
- 2000 – Performance for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee at Gunnersbury Park, Ealing
- Descendants performed on 2 separate occasion for Arsenal footballer ‘Kanu’ for his heart Foundation charity at the Hilton, Edgware Road.
- Established a week of dance ’Rhythmic Dance Triangle’ in partnership with YSB and The Jiving Lindy Hoppers. This event ran for 15 years.
- Making a film with director Pogus Ceaser
- Annual Achievement Awards established in 2004
- Running Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities parenting projects.
- Established a Boy’s and Girls club working in partnership with the local Ealing Police.
- Becoming the Mayor of Ealing’s Charity of the year 2019
- Becoming TSB Acton’s Charity of the year 2019
- Winning the Queen’s Award for Volunatary Service in 2019
- Performing in the London New Year’s Day Parade 2020
How we started
In July 1993, the idea of establishing Descendants came from overwhelming parental response following a performance by young people of African and Caribbean descent performing together at St. Vincent’s RC School in Acton, West London. The evening made such an impact, and created such positive feedback, that the founder members of Descendants (Margaret Noel, Collette Noel, Chantel Noel, Celestina Uzoka, Lorraine Neckles, Helen Manufor and Kisha Noel) held a meeting to look into the development of a sustainable cultural group.
Following a successful meeting and further research, which demonstrated that there was a definite need for this type of group, Descendants was established in September 1993, for children of African and Caribbean descent.
When Descendants began, there was nothing like it in the area. Its ethos was based on togetherness, being a family for African and Caribbean children to come together and learn from each other. When the club began we were not sure how it would develop. We did not have any money; however, we had an enthusiastic set of parents and interested individuals. Together as a group of parents, friends and associates we planned the sessions, contributing and donating from our own pockets, we provided pens, paper and materials and, most importantly, time
Margaret Noel, Founder
In 1993, the Rt. Hon. Mr Paul Boateng M.P was approached and agreed to become our Patron. Mrs Connie Mark B.E.M M.B.E became our second Patron in 1998. Dr John Roberts Q.C formally became our 3rd Patron in June 2007. Mrs Connie Mark passed away in June 2007, but prior to her death she endorsed the appointment of Dr John Robert’s Q.C – who sadly passed in June 2016 – as our third Patron.
27 years later, Descendants has become well-known in surrounding boroughs. With a long list of highlights and achievements to their name, and countless graduates of the group paying tribute to their Descendants experiences as they move on to academic success, rewarding careers and to have families of their own, Descendants continues to build and grow, inspiring the next group of young people and, we hope, generations to come.
How you can help us
Find out how you can help here.