Former Ilford County Court to become community hub after Sikh charity wins funding

From left: Jasvir Singh, Harbans Singh Seehra, Richard Stacey, Harmander Singh, Ranjit Singh Lidher

From left: Jasvir Singh, Harbans Singh Seehra, Richard Stacey, Harmander Singh, Ranjit Singh Lidher and Pritpal Singh Daheley - Credit: Archant

A Sikh centre opening in the former Ilford County Court building has secured funding to turn it into a community hub creating eight new jobs.

The Nanak Santsang Sabha charity was established in 1995 to promote Sikh worship and social activities in Redbridge.

The charity now provides a range of community services from advice surgeries and after school clubs through to training and development.

The former court building, in Buckingham Road, Ilford will have a crèche, cooking classes, a healthy living programme and a community hub run by volunteers.

Harmander Singh, one of the founders, said: “We wanted to deliver a relevant, interfaith vision to the local community.

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“Working with our volunteers, local businesses as well as Sikh businesses across the country, we’ve been able to bring the building back into meaningful public use.”

The centre received £1.3million in a loan from NatWest which means the changes to the building can now get underway.

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The team have lots of plans for the former court building including creating a Sikh museum in the basement.

They also want to promote the environment and are looking into letting the police use it as an independent reporting centre.

Different Sikh charities including the Sikh Hospital Chaplaincy, marathon group Sikhs in the City and campaign group Sikh Women will all be based in the centre.

Mr Singh said: “This really is the Big Society in action. One community, in partnership with NatWest, has made all this possible.”

As well as creating eight new jobs, volunteers will be used to ensure the centre runs smoothly.

The centre secured funding from the not for profit division of NatWest.

Richard Stacey, from NatWest, said: “The charity’s new community hub will bring important support to the community here in Redbridge.

“Harmander and his team have shown real innovation to develop this fantastic centre and NatWest is proud to be part of this.”

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