News & events
8th February 2017
Some of you may have seen a recent letter which raised questions about the involvement that the St Philip’s Centre has with the Army. The Centre Director, Revd Dr Tom Wilson, received a copy of the letter on Tuesday 7th February and spent some time in discussion with four of the fifty-nine people who had signed it. During that meeting, he reiterated the fact that the St Philip’s Centre engages in a diverse range of activities, of which our work with the Army is but one modest part. He clarified that the recent visit of Prince Charles to St Philip’s Church was an event supported by the Centre (providing catering and logistical resources) but it was an Armed Forces event. The Centre’s core values are of encounter leading to understanding and the development of trust with the possibility of co-operation. Any work we undertake with the Armed Forces is done in that spirit, enabling people of very different perspectives to encounter each other and increasing understanding at the very least. We will continue to work in line with our values
The Casey Review – A review into opportunity and integration
Lord Bourne visits Leicester
On Thursday 8th December 2016, Lord Nick Bourne who is the government Minister with responsibility for faith, visited Leicester to hear from some of the city’s faith communities about their work on integration and their views about the independent Casey Report. Lord Bourne engaged with a wide range of people representing Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Humanist perspectives. He also met city councillors from two wards. The Minister and his family have strong Evington connections and at St Philip’s Church he was presented with a copy of his father’s Baptism certificate by Revd Jonathan Surridge.
Lord Bourne visited Masjid Al Falah, Leicester Cathedral and Shree Jalaram Mandir during the day. He also heard about three Near Neighbours projects which his Department for Communities & Local Government has funded.
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre said, “The Minister was deeply appreciative of how Leicester has set a high standard for other cities in the UK and elsewhere to follow, about how positive community relations can be built and sustained. We clearly cannot be complacent and programmes like Near Neighbours help our efforts. One of the main highlights of the visit was the walkabout on Narborough Road – the UK’s most diverse street which showcased Leicester’s remarkable recent story”.
St Philip’s Centre joins forces with the NSPCC to help keep children safe online
The Share Aware campaign, which ran in Leicester and Nottingham, reached 1,038 people through workshops, events, and distribution material.
The country’s leading children’s charity was able to speak to so many people thanks to partners including the Federation of Muslim Organisations and St Philip’s Centre which helped set up a workshop in March.
John McCallum, Near Neighbours Development Officer for St Philip’s Centre, said: “Many small or independent faith communities struggle to find the right level of advice and support. That is why Near Neighbours and St Philip’s Centre both greatly value the opportunity to work with the NSPCC in Leicester and Nottingham on Safeguarding Awareness in our wonderfully diverse multi-faith communities.
“This is made all the better for me and the people of the many faiths I work with because NSPCC colleagues are always friendly and approachable in their willingness to encourage faith groups to be aware of safeguarding and particularly in the online world.”
In January 2015, the NSPCC launched Share Aware to help parents and carers keep their children safe from online dangers such as cyberbullying and child sexual exploitation.
The campaign aims to equip parents with the tools to have conversations with their children about what they do on the internet and how to keep them safe from dangers. One of the tools available to parents and carers is Net Aware, a simple NSPCC guide to social media networks, websites and apps that children and young people use.
Flu Jab Campaign
Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group has launched a campaign to encourage at risk groups to take up the flu jab. The CCG has produced a public information leaflet which highlights key facts. For further information please contact Leicester City CCG or your General Practitioner (GP).
BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ programme on 5th September features Narborough Road
Local community enjoys Ramadhan meal
On Monday 4th July 2016, Riaz Ravat – Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre attended an Open Iftar at The Peace Centre in the Thurnby Lodge area of Leicester. The event witnessed several local residents sharing a meal with members of the local Muslim community. Among those who were present was the Parish Priest for the area, Revd Paul Savage.
Riaz said, “I was heartened by the warmth with which local residents were received by The Peace Centre. Molana Mohammed Lockhat was an excellent host. He has established an Islamic place of worship with an open heart to all regardless of faith or belief. The inspirational efforts made by the volunteers who run a food bank supports nearly 300 people in desperate need by providing them with essential supplies. This is to be roundly applauded. The message from the Iftar was one of a commitment to work together for the benefit of the entire community and I am confident that this will continue in the years ahead”.
St Philip’s Centre celebrates 10 years
See the video of the celebrations here.
With thanks to Lydia Wood
7th Infantry Brigade meets Leicester’s Faith Communities
East Midlands military personnel have visited a Sikh temple as part of an inter faith day to help build relationships with faith groups in Leicestershire.
The visit was organised by the city’s St Philip’s Centre – which saw 25 Army Officers visit the Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Gurdwara in Oadby.
There is a long and cherished history of Sikhs serving in the British Army with some 135 among the ranks today. The values and standards demanded of our Armed Forces are mirrored in the proud and noble Sikh warrior society.
The day of world faiths engagement also saw the military personnel meet with religious figures representing the Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths. The purpose of the day was to increase understanding and to build relationships between the Armed Forces and different faith groups in Leicestershire.
Lieutenant Colonel David Dawber, SO1 Engagement at 7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East, said: “It has been a fantastic day – we have learned a lot and we have been made to feel very welcome. I hope that they have learnt as much about us as we have learnt about them.”
Riaz Ravat, Deputy Director of St Philip’s Centre added: “A healthy society is one where our Armed Forces and faith communities work for mutual benefit. Both institutions are rooted in strong values of loyalty, dedication and generosity. There is a long and proud history of people from the Commonwealth giving their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms of today. It is therefore crucial that today’s generation not only share in those stories but also help to shape positive narratives moving forward.
“The awareness day was part of a broader package of linkages between the Army and faith communities. Leicester has been visited twice in recent times by Earl Howe – Minister for Defence and Army personnel are regularly in attendance at inter faith community events. Barriers are being replaced by bridges”.
Bishop Martyn visits St Philip’s Centre
On Tuesday 31st May, as part of a series of engagements with Leicester’s diverse faith communities, Bishop Martyn visited the St Philip’s Centre. As well as learning about the Centre itself, he met with members of three of Leicester’s faith communities. He had round table discussions with Minou Cortazzi, of the Baha’i community, Leon Charikar of Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation and Surinderpal Singh Rai of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara.
Revd Dr Tom Wilson, Director of the Centre, said, “It was a real pleasure to welcome Bishop Martyn and introduce him to some more of Leicester’s faith leaders. At the St Philip’s Centre we are keen to foster encounter between different people that can lead to greater understanding, the development of trust and the possibility of future co-operation tackling areas of common concern. The meeting was very productive and I am hopeful of good things happening in the future as we work to make Leicester a better place for people of different faiths to live well together.
Living Well Together Conference in Leicester, March 2016
Tom Wilson, Director of St Philip’s Centre, recently took part in the ‘Living Well Together’ Conference at St Martins House.
View the video here.