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24 September 2014
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Ashbrooke Hall in Sunderland
A successful community centre

Community spirit boosted by Sikh Temple

When a former Church of England church was transformed into a Sikh Gurudwara by the Sunderland Sikh Association, it helped the community to gain recognition in the City.


When the Sunderland Sikh Association took over the refurbishment of Christ Church, last September, one of their aims was to make it a success as a place of worship.

Equally important to them was the development of strong community relationships.

Commitment

The hard work and commitment of members has meant they have been able to meet the challenges they set themselves.

Ashbrooke Hall sign
Directions to the way in

Each weekend a congregation of around 400 - 500 people turn up at the Gurudwara, taking part in the religious "functions" there.

Use of the former church hall as a community centre, alongside regular school visits, has enabled a strong sense of community spirit to develop.

Buta Singh Sangha, the General Secretary of the Association says: "We are a good success not only on the religious side, we have developed in the community as well.

"The Sikh Community don't sit in one street, we are all over."

'We never socialised'

Sikh women cooking
Community spirit in the kitchen

"They are hard working people, the Sikhs", Buta Singh Sangha continues, "but we never socialised - we had a Gurudwara in Newcastle, but that meant travelling.

"Socially we've developed a lot, so we've got more strength, even in the council side, we are the largest community or second largest alongside the Bangladeshi community.

The council started to get to know us - before they never knew us. Nobody thought of us because we never socialised in one place, now we've got the centre."

The Sikh Community are spread out across the North East, living in areas including South Shields, Peterlee, Sunderland, Washington, Newcastle and County Durham.

last updated: 18/05/06
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