Monday, September 28, 2020

Northampton charities to ramp-up community services with bank support

Two Northampton charities are preparing to expand the vital services they provide to local people with support from Lloyds Bank.

The Siri Guru Singh Sabha Northampton and the Sikh Community Centre and Youth Club (SCCYC) say the relocation of the Gurdwara and community centre to a much larger site in the St James area of the town in August will make a ‘huge difference’ to the community.

The charities, which were recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest accolade a voluntary group can receive in the UK – plan to more than quadruple the number of free meals they provide for vulnerable and homeless people to 700 a week.

Run by a network of 70 part-time volunteers, the organisations will also use their new site at St James’s Road to ramp-up the activities and support services they provide for thousands of local people every year, from language and computer classes, to youth clubs, health checks and housing support.

The new development will include a food bank, a gym with changing room and shower facilities, meeting and conference rooms for local businesses, a larger Gurdwara for the 400 Sikh families in Northampton who will use it as a place of worship and an extended museum to welcome school children from across Northamptonshire to learn about the Sikh faith as part of the Religious Education curriculum.

The charities raised £1.5 million through community donations and grants, including the Big Lottery, Sport for England and Garfield Weston, to fund the building work for the new Gurdwara and were further supported with an £800,000 business loan from Lloyds Bank.

The bank also helped The Siri Guru Singh Sabha secure a five-figure Bounce Back Loan Scheme loan to ensure they could continue to deliver services throughout the pandemic.

Amarjit Singh Atwal, Trustee at the Siri Guru Singh Sabha Northampton, said: “Our local area suffers from high levels of deprivation and the new building will enable us to make a huge difference to people of every faith across the community in a tangible way.

“Having Lloyds Bank at our side has been vital throughout our move to St James’s Road. It understands what we’re trying to achieve and stepped in during the worst of the crisis to ensure we could continue to serve the community while the Gurdwara was closed.”

Harjinder Singh Kooner, Chairman of the Sikh Community Centre and Youth Club, said: “Our work is not just about providing our community with a place of worship. We support local people with their health and wellbeing and help them access vital social services. We reach out to a growing number of vulnerable and homeless people to provide them with hot meals and for others, we’re a place to meet with friends.

“Our new building will enable us to expand these services significantly. None of this would be possible without the commitment of our network of wonderful volunteers and the support of the team at Lloyds Bank.”

Roger Kitching, Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “This charity truly sits at the heart of the community and has a significant impact on the lives of the local people who rely on its support and services every day. The expansion represents a significant step forward, the effects of which will be keenly felt across the town.

“The vision and commitment of both organisations is humbling, and we look forward to continuing to support them in their journey to change lives for the better in Northampton.”

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