About Tan Teddy
Tan Teddy is the only Jamaican Folk Culture Group, here in the South West of England, composed of people living and working in Bristol. The group promotes Jamaican cultural values, which arise from a sense of what it means to be part of a caring community where everyone is valued. We sing, dance and bring joy along with a sense of purposefulness to people’s lives.
We have a vast wealth of experience in community development work. Each year Bristol hosts an annual Carnival that celebrates the diverse cultures of the city but also acknowledges the unique and specific contribution from people who came from Jamaica. There is wide recognition of the huge contribution that Jamaicans and our culture and practices have made to the Bristol community.
Tan Teddy has taken some time to recognize our breadth of skills and competence and to appreciate what we have to contribute to the social landscape in Bristol. We are currently working on plans for a year long programme of workshops for older people which will initially take place at the Malcolm X Centre in Bristol.
Given that this is the anniversary year commemorating the advent of the so-called ‘Windrush Generation’, we think it is very fitting for our group to engage in a programme which is partly creative – and will involve sharing songs, dances, poems that people remember from their childhood and youth. But there will also be a strong oral history component where we will carefully collect memories, anecdotes, and recollections weaving them together into a resonant, vibrant exhibition.
Creating a tight-knit community, where we care for each other, underpins all our work. We see the delivery of a sustained programme of workshops, rather than the occasional one-off event, as a really powerful tool to change the way the community in St Paul’s and beyond operates.
We ackowledge that being creative automatically lifts people’s spirits, increases their energy levels and brings an enhanced sense of well-being. This is particularly true when people are re-connected to a strong sense of home, when they are encouraged to reminisce and share memories of treasured moments in their lives. As a result of the workshops, we know that people will be much happier, and by extension, healthier and they will experience a stronger sense of being valued members of a caring community.
In Britain, elderly people are all too often made to feel useless and that they are an inconvenience. This entirely flies in the face of the role of the elders in Caribbean societies. We recognize that some of these destructive values may have been adopted by some; but we firmly believe that the work we are set upon undertaking will help reverse this trend and restore the status of elderly people in our community.
This is who we are and what we stand for. Community. Compassion. Respect. And laughter.