Plaque unveiled for Moss Side community activist and member of the windrush generation

Jahmal Williams-Thomas attended the unveiling, and spoke to Keith's friends and family.

A plaque has been dedicated to the founder of a 60-year-old youth club, who died in 2022.

Keith Stephens was one of the founders of the Hideaway Youth Centre in Moss Side, and spent the rest of his life as a leader in his community.

As a member of the Windrush Generation, Keith arrived in Manchester at the age of 16 and worked with his church to establish the youth club.

His wife, Pat Stephens, said: "He lived in Moss Side and saw the deprivation... and he wanted to bring change, and I think that change was needed at the time."

The plaque was unveiled by his wife inside the youth club

The plaque has been attached to the youth club, and is dedicated to him and his efforts to help support young people in his community.

The Hideaway is still open today, making it the oldest youth club in Manchester.

Its current director, Julie Wharton, said: "We all loved Keith. Keith was a joker... He used to make us laugh and if we were having a bad day, he made us smile.

"I haven't been here as long as Keith had been here, but he helped me. He was very supportive of The Hideaway, and he's always been supportive of The Hideaway."

Keith may have died in 2022, but his legacy is kept alive by those he has helped in Moss Side.

His son, Cesaire, still visits the youth club with his children, and hopes the blue plaque will keep his father's story alive.

Cesaire said: "The impact he's done on the Moss Side area... To see a plaque to honour him is great.

"Obviously he's Jamaican so he'll be kissing his teeth, but quietly he'll be proud of himself."

Keith Stephens Credit: Pat Stephens

Keith Stephens is still remembered fondly in his community. His friend, Ina Spence, described him as "one of a kind."

She said: "If he knows you're ill or missing from church, he'll be one of the first ones to get on the phone... He says are you alright? Are you feeling better?"

Keith arrived in the UK in 1965 as a member of the Windrush Generation, and worked for more than 50 years in his community to increase opportunities and advocate for the rights of black people in Moss Side.

His efforts were recognised in 2019, when he was awarded the BME Network Hidden Gem Lifetime Award for services to the Black and Minority Ethnic community.

Keith after winning his award in 2019 Credit: Pat Stephens

As well as acting as a leader for the youth in his community, Keith was also a disabled rights activist, an advocate for education around mental health, and a passionate advocate for disabled rights.

Keith contracted meningitis in his thirties, which led to him suffering from a stroke and paralysed him.

He spent months in hospital and eventually learnt to walk again, but was left disabled for the rest of his life.

Want more on the issues affecting the North? Our podcast, From the North answers the questions that matter to our region.