BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly known as the ‘Neasden Temple’) received an award from the London Faith & Community Awards in recognition of its commitment to the health and welfare of elderly community members through regular visits to residential care homes.
The awards were organised by The Faith & Belief Forum – an organisation that exists to create good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs. The London Faith & Community Awards is a key initiative of the Forum which celebrates the vital work of local communities in making London a welcoming place for people of all faiths and beliefs.
Volunteers from the Mandir were presented with the award under the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ category by the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London (Sir Kenneth Olisa OBE) during the awards ceremony held on 27 November 2018 in London. The Mandir was also selected for the Judge’s Commendation Award in the category.
Volunteers have been delivering tailored programmes for residents at local care homes since 2014. Residents have, in turn, shared valuable life experiences with the volunteers, many of whom are young and have found the experiences enriching. As part of this community engagement, volunteers have also organised excursions to local places of interest including visits to the Mandir.
Kirit Wadia, a lead interfaith volunteer at the Mandir said: “We are extremely honoured and humbled to receive this award. The creator of the Neasden Temple, His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj used to teach: “In the joy of others lies our own.” It is the joy of serving others itself which gives us our greatest joy and satisfaction. We hope and pray that we all continue to serve others selflessly and humbly, bringing joy to others, thereby finding our own joy too.”
Interfaith events are an integral component of the Mandir’s activities. An Interfaith Armistice Day Remembrance Ceremony was held at the Mandir in November 2018, and volunteers and worshippers from the Mandir joined community leaders and residents of various faiths to participate in a Peace Walk in September 2018. Children from the Mandir also participated at an interfaith music festival at The British Museum in March 2018. The Mandir regularly participates in the annual National Interfaith Initiative.