Keeping Guyanese Culture Alive

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Back in 1995 a group of Guyanese promoters and DJs wanted to give something back to the community. Their project began as the Guyana Charity Ball, which has evolved to become Guyana UK Social Development Association (GUSDA).

Today, GUSDA’s remit is to contribute to the social development of Guyanese in Guyana and the UK in the areas of sport, education, culture, health including mental health, and general wellbeing. The young and the elderly are GUSDA’s primary focus.

Fundraising for causes affecting the Guyanese community has always been one of GUSDA’s core activities. Over the years, funds have been raised for a wide variety of causes, including more than £8,000 to enable the distribution of food hampers across most of Guyana’s regions, benefiting more than 170 families and vulnerable groups.

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GUSDA’s annual Family Sports and Fun Day was first held in 2004 at Tooting Bec Athletics track. It remains one of the most popular calendar dates for the UK Guyanese community, where children take part in the races and adults meet up with old friends and families. This year’s version will be held at the Croydon Sports Arena on Sunday 30 July.

The Guyana UK Folk Festival, first held in 2008, aims to bring a taste of Guyana’s rich cultural heritage and traditions to the shores of the UK. Performers have included Guyanese icon – and GUSDA’s patron – Ram John Holder (aka Pork Pie in Desmond’s), flautist Keith Waithe, actress Doris Harper-Wills and poet Marc Matthews. This year’s event took place at Oasis Academy, Croydon on 28 May and featured a Teen Talent Competition. For full details of GUSDA’s events and guidance on volunteering, visit their website gusda.uk.

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