African Roots


The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant to the African Community Council for the Regions (ACCR) to support a young roots project to document the influences that African culture and history has had on modern English in the UK.

The award of £40,200 will be used to create a video documentary, oral archive and website that will all be accessible to the public. These project deliverables will be a comprehensive study of English words with African origins featuring discussions with language experts and people with relevant life experiences. The project will involve and engage people in the community of varying backgrounds and therefore will promote social cohesion by raising awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the English language and its relationship with African history.

Only 30% of the English spoken today is estimated to have Anglo-Saxon origins, hence as much as 70% is believed to have foreign origins. Though majority of the English language’s loanwords originate from Latin, French and Greek culture, this project will highlight the lesser known loanwords with African origins. And in the process, will also explore and document the fascinating history that England shares with Africa. With around 60,000 people from African or African Caribbean backgrounds resident in Birmingham it is important that as a city we celebrate this strong cultural link.

The project is looking for young people(ages 13 – 25) to volunteer and gain accredited skills and work experience which will enhance their employability. The project will be overseen by ACCR (African Community Council for the Regions) but is structured to allow its young volunteers the independence to take the lead whilst having professional support provided when needed. This provides a safe, relaxed and social environment for young people to learn and try a variety of challenging work-related tasks.

Mohammed Al-Rahim, Founder, President and CEO of local charity African Community Council for the Regions said: “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has enabled this work to take place. African culture has had a huge impact on Birmingham and the English that we speak here, and thanks to this grant we have the opportunity to celebrate this and create a lasting record. We are also extremely happy, through this project, to be able to provide meaningful volunteering opportunities for the young people of Birmingham. ”

Notes To Editors

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy. Since 1994 it has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4 billion across the UK.

African Community Council for the Regions (ACCR) is a registered charity (1088205) that exists to remove the barriers to social, educational and vocational achievement and combat the disadvantages, discrimination, unemployment, hardship and distress of African individuals and communities.

ACCR is the lead partner in this multi-agency project including the Heritage Lottery, Freshwinds, Centre for West African Studies (University of Birmingham), Birmingham Libraries and Archive.



We require the help of Volunteers with a huge range of tasks, including administration, maintaining this website(!), marketing, researching the local African-Caribbean community, fundraising, translation and mentoring Clients. We are committed to the support and further development of our Volunteers.

Fundrasing & Donations

The ACCR relies on individual donations, grant-giving bodies and donations from Companies and Businesses to maintain its services. Any donations you can make are greatly appreciated and used responsibly to maintain and further develop our services.

If you wish to make a donation to ACCR you can write a check made out to ACCR and send it to:

The ACCR, Prospect Hall,
12 College Walk,
Selly Oak,
B29 6LE T

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