BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as Neasden Temple – received an award in the ‘Inspiring Youth’ category from the London Faith & Belief Community Awards in recognition of the Mandir’s ‘Island of Heroes
’ that was created in July this year. The children’s cultural adventureland was a part of the wider 10-day ‘Festival of Inspiration
’ that celebrated the birth centenary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the creator of Neasden Temple.
The award was organised by The Faith & Belief Forum, an organisation that promotes good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs. The London Faith & Community Awards is a key initiative of the Forum that celebrates the vital work of local communities in making London a welcoming place for people of all faiths and beliefs.
The ‘Inspiring Youth’ award category assessed projects that worked with young people “to encourage leadership and participation in their local community, and connect them with opportunities beyond their neighbourhoods”. The awards committee adds: “Through this award we are particularly looking to celebrate work that is led by youth people or young leaders under 30 who deserve recognition.”
The ‘Island of Heroes’ was a dedicated adventure zone for children visiting the ‘Festival of Inspiration’. It provided a fun, immersive experience for children and families to learn through musical productions, UV light shows, a 4D experience, escape room, obstacle course, giant colouring cave, and various other interactive games and activities.
More than 40,000 children, with their parents, were motivated to become shining members of our multi-cultural society, drawing upon the timeless wisdom of Hinduism and universal values lived by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, such as respect, hard work, teamwork, faith and kindness.
The entire ‘Island of Heroes’ was designed, created and delivered by more than 1,200 children and youths of BAPS UK & Europe.
The award ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey in the presence of many distinguished guests, including Sir Kenneth Olisa, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, and Reverend Dr David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster.
Yagna Patel and Krupa Dodhia accepted the award on behalf of the many BAPS volunteers who had dedicated their time and talents towards the success of the ‘Island of Heroes’.
Yagna shared, “It is an absolute honour to see the ‘Island of Heroes’ being recognised for its positive engagement with the youth community. This year is an extremely special year as we celebrate the birth centenary of His Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, who taught us to value every child as divine. We dedicate this award to Pramukh Swami Maharaj for his countless contributions to children’s welfare and nurturing.”
Krupa added, “His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, our current spiritual leader, continues to inspire us volunteers to follow the ideals lived by Pramukh Swami Maharaj and serve the community through our services to children and parents. We are deeply grateful to The Faith & Belief Forum for recognising the ‘Island of Heroes’ as our young volunteers’ contribution to the community.”