Gujarat Hindu Society and Community Centre
The Gujarat Hindu Society was established in 1965 to cater for and service the needs of the local community in Preston, Lancashire.
Today the Gujarat Hindu Society engages with the community by providing sport and recreational facilities, education, social services and a cultural base for the community in Preston. The centre runs over thirty different activities with the help of volunteers and paid staff.
This is done by working in partnership with many public and voluntary sector organisations for example, Lancashire Adult Learning, National Forum for Health and Wellbeing (Lancashire Gujarat Health Users Forum).
Every year they have over 70 visits from local Scout and Brownies groups, Schools, Universities and professional organisations. Over 2000 young children and adults come on an organised visit to the Centre from many towns in the North West. They have also supported the Preston Faith Forum’s Faith Trail where groups of people go to visit places of worship and that includes our Mandir.
Currently visits are lead by knowledgeable Committee Members who have shown great interest in carrying out the temple visits in a structured manner whereby the visitors are given a guided tour of the prayer hall and the building followed by a short question and answer session. The enormous positive feedback from the pupils and students are very encouraging and we know that they have learnt a lot by coming to the Centre. They feel it is their duty to share the Hindu faith and to complement the Religious Education Syllabus. An annual conference is held at the Centre by the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) team where knowledgeable members and adherents from the Hindu faith are invited to inform children from local secondary schools about our religion.
It is important that they maintain and showcase their Indian cultural heritage and to pass this on to their future generations. For this reason, they have been running classical and folk dance classes. Currently they have 3 classical dance classes run by experienced professionals. These are attended by over 40 students who progress to official ISTD Classical Dance examination which is equivalent to a GCSE level. Many of the students have taken the dance exams and have achieved high grades.
These classes provide a foundation for excellent performances in the future as well as allowing their community to preserve their traditional dance forms.
The Balkunj Group practice singing bhajans once a month and take part in the monthly Bhajan Bhojan programme. The children also get invited to people’s homes to sing bhajans. The leaders of the Balkunj group put in a lot of hard work and effort to not only train the children but also dress them up in religious characters as well as patriotic figures of India to showcase at cultural functions.
They are also very fortunate to have many opportunities to showcase their culture at the Centre as well as externally outside the community. These include annual events such as the Preston Mela and the Health Mela as well as numerous cultural events that occur throughout the year. This brings awareness to others outside the community and helps with donations to the Society and hence allows us to widen the awareness of their Indian Culture.
The Society is very fortunate to the committed young girls and ladies who take part in the annual Rass and Garba competition organised by the Hindu Council of North. They always put on spectacular performances and represent GHS to a very high standard. GHS is always very fortunate that thanks to Lord krishna’s we achieve such high standards year on year in this competition.