Monday, March 4, 2024
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Blue tokens at the ready! Oyé in the running for a share of Tesco’s Stronger Starts fund

Africa Oyé is bidding for a cash boost from the Tesco Stronger Starts scheme to help fund the festival’s provision of Sign Language interpreters both on-stage and on-site, right throughout the duration of the festival.

Stronger Starts provides grant awards of up to £1,500 to local community projects. Three groups in every community have been shortlisted to receive grant awards and Tesco customers can vote for the group they think should take away the top award in their local Tesco store.

Africa Oyé’s Sign Language Team is one of the groups on the shortlist in the area surrounding the festival’s home in Sefton Park, Liverpool.

Bobbie (pictured), who heads up the British Sign Language (BSL) team at Oyé said: “We believe that everyone should be able to access our free, family festival equally. Deaf sign language users, from all over the country and beyond, come to celebrate Africa Oyé with us. 

Bobbie continues, “The artists’ performances frequently carry messages holding such deep importance. The music brings to the fore Africa and the diaspora’s shared history, politics, struggles, faith, unity and love. Accessing this through the signing, people sometimes see-hear their own history, or discover their shared identity, for the very first time.

Our team has been so privileged to be part of moments like these at every festival. This funding will contribute towards providing British Sign Language access, around the festival and on-stage, ensuring everyone can come access and enjoy the festival together. We have more deaf people – seemingly from all over the world – coming to join us year on year. It’s incredibly humbling.”

Paul Duhaney, Artistic Director of the festival, said: “Inclusion is key for Oyé. The festival attracts people from all walks of life, and if there is a communitythat is ever under-represented, we strive to rectify that.”

As well as Africa Oyé’s signed stage performances, the festival also features an accessible viewing platform and Access Tent; aiming to provide equitable access to as many people as possible. We want to make sure everyone can enjoy and experience Oyé together. 

Voting is open in Tesco stores from early January until the end of March. Customers will cast their vote using a blue token given to them at the check-out each time they shop.

Tesco’s Stronger Starts – previously known as Tesco Community Grants – has already provided over £110 million to more than 60,000 projects across Britain.

The programme is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. To find out more visit

The Africa Oyé Festival this year takes place on 22nd and 23rd June 2024 in Sefton Park, Liverpool. Entrance is free and you can find out more information via