Before I came to Cariocca, just over 2 months ago, I have to confess that I knew very little about the Company and its roots. However, all that changed very quickly as I have learned so much not only about the Company, but also about the people that fought to make the concept a reality. And it is these values that are inspiring me to steer the business back toward its original aims; to help the community in which we live and operate to succeed and grow.
Cariocca in itself is its own success story and a product of the aims and values that its founders wanted to bring to the city of Manchester, with a major driving force from its inception being the late Mrs Louise Da’Cocodia. A woman I have only recently come to learn about, but whom I will never meet and although I don’t have many ‘I wish I had’ moments, this is definitely one of them. I wish that I could have a conversation with her about what drove her, what inspired her, how she overcame the prejudices and discrimination that never seemed to hinder her. Yes, I have no doubt whatsoever that she was a very strong and determined woman on the outside, but how did she find the strength to pursue her beliefs and without just giving up? I have read a list of some of her fantastic achievements, other than having a leading hand in making Cariocca a success, but even so it is hard to even fathom the difficulties she faced in the eras when women, never mind one of ethnic minority, were, well, shall we say not ‘allowed’ to succeed!
I could go on about Mrs Da’Cocodia’s achievements and my complete admiration for her, but why don’t you take a look at just a few of the projects she initiated or was involved in. Maybe this will give you a glimpse of the woman she was:
Click to view pdf of Bio
Which brings me to the point of this article really. Mrs Da’Cocodia was recently honoured for a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Heroes and Sheroes Committee in Manchester at their fantastic event held at the Hilton Deansgate, Manchester on 22nd February.
Our Chair, Cleveland McCurdy, accepted the award on her behalf and in a fitting tribute said a few words:
“Louise Da-Cocodia (affectionately known as Mrs D), was born in Church Penn, St. Catherine, Jamaica. In 1955 she came to England to train as a State Registered Nurse at one of the hospitals in London. Despite encountering prejudice she achieved her dreams of becoming a midwife and health visitor and retired early in 1989 as a Senior Nursing Officer, remarkable in those days.
According to her daughter Sarah:
Louise was never self-Interested and was fully committed to helping people recognise, develop and nurture their innate potential.
In terms of her work in the community, Louise was one of the founder members of Arawak Walton Housing Association, Cariocca Enterprises where ethnic minorities businesses can start and prosper and Cariocca Education Trust
Louise served for many years under my leadership as a very valued and challenging member of the board at City College Manchester.
Following her death in 2008, a decision was made to re-name Cariocca Education Trust in her honour. This event took place in 2009 at Manchester Metropolitan University. During her presentation at the launch of the Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust, Professor Carol Baxter stated that:
Some of the other notable achievements:
In the last few months of her life, those who were closest caught a glimmer of her invincibility. She remained dignified and smiling to the very end. We will always remember her for this. We thank God for sharing with us this bright star Louise and know that her kindness and generosity of Spirit – continues to live on in all of us.”
We wish to thank the organisers for inviting us and it was wonderful to see not just our own Mrs Da’Cocodia honoured, but also other members of the community, young and old, who are bringing or have brought light and hope to a world where there seems to be not enough of it these days.