Birmingham, Community News, Events

Celebrate Jamaica’s 60th independence anniversary in style, with music, poetry and tasty Caribbean treats

Jamaica’s 60th year of independence will be marked in style in Birmingham as a special pop-up venue to celebrate the country’s Commonwealth Games performances is launched.

Representatives of the Jamaican High Commission, Birmingham City Council and the Jamaican Tourist Board will be at the event on Wednesday, August 3, as Jamaica House is officially launched at the Glee Club in The Arcadian centre.

Visitors will be treated to music, entertainment and some tasty Caribbean treats, prepared by renowned chef Lorenzo Richards, who is there as part of a series of Commonwealth food events organised by Communities Engage and Thrive.

Organisers from CET, a community interest company based in Birmingham, will be giving away recipe cards and samples of herbs and spices so that visitors can go away and recreate Lorenzo’s healthy Jamaican dishes at home.

Lorenzo, who is of Jamaican heritage and grew up in Birmingham, has worked with stars including Rustie Lee and appeared on TV with the likes of the Hairy Bikers and Omid Djalili. In 2007 he launched his own award-winning Caribbean concept restaurant, the Wildmoor Oak, in Bromsgrove.

Parveen Talwar, from CET, said: “Jamaica gave the world reggae, ska, dub, rocksteady, the world’s fastest (and coolest) humans; it’s the place where fantasies were born.

“It also has amazing, healthy food which Lorenzo will be preparing for visitors. Khadijah Ibrahiim, our dub poet will also be appearing at the opening of Jamaica House, so visitors will be able to fully experience its healthy food and vibrant culture.”

Jamaica’s Tourist Board and Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport are hosting Jamaica House at the Glee Club as part of the year’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of independence. It will be open from August 3 to 7 for people to celebrate the Jamaican team at the Commonwealth Games. There will also be entertainment laid on.

The August 3 launch event featuring CET’s healthy food demonstration runs from 11am to 2pm.

CET is organising a series of events across Birmingham celebrating Commonwealth food and culture, supported by Birmingham City Council. The events are linked with the council’s Cook the Commonwealth project, which is asking for people to submit recipes from around the Commonwealth. (

Each event focuses on a different Commonwealth country and all feature a chef preparing healthy dishes from that country. Ghana, Nigeria, Trinidad & Tobago, India and Sri Lanka have already been celebrated.

Forthcoming events include a celebration of Kenya on Saturday, August 6, when African dancers and drummers will be appearing at Handsworth Park; Wales and England at Ward End Park on Monday, August 8; Bangladesh at Aston Park on Saturday, August 20, and Pakistan at George’s Park, Lozells on Saturday, August 27.

All the CET events are free to attend. Tickets for the Jamaica celebration are free, and can be booked in advance. They are also available on the door on the day. Visit to get tickets.

For more details of the other CET events, visit


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