Projects at The Great British Community

What are we doing at The Great British Community?

Newham Family Tree Project

Composite collage icon for Newham Family TreeThe Family Tree programme is designed to combat negative myths and stereotypes by promoting the wide ranging benefits of diversity to Britain. The end result of the programme is the Family Tree website showing the histories of the different groups that make up a community and the benefits they have brought. By placing the histories at the roots of the Tree and the benefits in the branches, we will be able to visually counter the myths that diversity is a recent phenomenon and that its impact has been negative. The first Family Tree is being piloted in Newham, our aim is to develop Family Trees across the country. For more information please contact us at




Every day there seems to be another negative story put out there about a different group of people, and we want to do something to change that. We want to bust the myths, break down the stereotypes and challenge the misconceptions. We’re working on a series of myth busting resources, coming to a website near you.


So what does it mean to be a British citizen today? Is it about what football team you follow? Is it about an addiction to tea and cricket? Or queuing, or humour, or fish and chips, or a roast on Sunday, or watching Eastenders? Or is it deeper than that? Well that’s what we want to find out, and we will be asking you those questions. What are the rights, responsibilities, entitlements and values that you believe are part of being a British citizen in 2015?


There are so many reasons to celebrate the great people who make up our country, so that’s what we want to do. But we won’t want to look back in time, we know Churchill was a great, as was Queen Elizabeth I, Darwin, Shakespeare and John Lennon. So what we want to do is look at Britain today. Who represents the best of British now? Think of the artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, scientists, architects, authors, comedians and musicians who make modern Britain great.


The Family Tree – let us tell you more….

Great British Community Poster Our Newham Family Tree Project is the pilot for what we hope will be a nation-wide programme. We are creating a digital family tree of Newham, in the form of an interactive website. This tree will be covered in stories of Newham collected by our researchers and the public. It will show the histories of the different groups which make up Newham at its roots, and the benefits of diversity in the branches. We hope that this will help to fight the myth that diversity is a new, negative force in the UK and beat isolation and discrimination in our communities.

There are 2 stages to the programme, the first trains young people as researchers, which we have run in partnership with Goldsmiths’ University. The second phase gains involvement from the wider community, collecting the stories and memories that celebrate the contributions of diversity to Newham.

The Family Tree will be fully accessible, full of short and engaging pieces of information, films and pictures. Once it’s launched the public will be invited to add their own stories and those of their families, communities and businesses to the Tree.


But it doesn’t stop in Newham. We’re creating the website as a template, so that it can be used in other boroughs, towns, cities, villages, to create their own Family Trees. In addition, we are developing education resources that will be free for schools and community groups to use as part of their curriculum, or as a stand alone project.

The latest blogs from Newham Family Tree

Dr Hannah Hedwig Striesow

Dr Hannah Hedwig Striesow

Receiving the Outstanding citizen award in 2001 from Newham Council, Hanna Hedwig Striesow (nee Kohn) is still remembered for her services and dedication to the Newham Community. Continue Reading



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Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis Linda Lewis, once described as the ‘Cockney-Jamaican Gracie Fields’, is one of Britain’s most respected and talented singer songwriters, with a career spanning more than four decades. With her five-octave vocal range, she has fused folk, soul, pop and reggae into a unique signature sound that is now an integral part of the… Continue Reading

Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry was a preacher and reformer. She was born in Norwich in 1780 to the Gurneys, a wealthy Quaker family Continue Reading