Welcome to this CVA Update FOCUS on Faith events & updates in the borough of Croydon
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CVA Update Focus on Children, Young People & Families

Chair's report

Welcome to the Autumn newsletter. Through the summer there have been several celebrations and meetings which you can read about below.

We continue to work to fulfill our pledge;
To commit ourselves, as People of many Faiths, to work together for the common good, uniting to build a better society grounded in values and ideas we share. Community, personal integrity, a sense of right and wrong, learning, wisdom and love of truth, care and compassion, justice and peace, respect for one another, for the earth and all its creatures.

We were pleased to have a number of Police at a steering group meeting and meet Alex Starr who is the new faith liaison officer. This was followed by a public meeting which is reported on by Les Kemp.

In September, we hosted a very useful training workshop for people who are working with children in supplementary schools or places of worship. You will see details below of how to get in touch with the safeguarding team. They are happy to come to your place of worship and have a talk with you about keeping your teachers and your children safe.

Yesterday I went to Kemnal Park Eternal Gardens, a cemetery in Chislehurst with dedicated space for Muslim burials. It was the opening of a space, La-Warith for people who have died but have no relatives who could pay for their funerals, they can be buried here and then money raised after. The gardens are a lovely peaceful place and burial plots can also be purchased in advance.

Remembrance Day is coming up and will be celebrated at The Minster this year, due to the closure of the Fairfield halls, on 13th November. We will be there and will be laying a wreath on behalf of all the people of faith who gave their lives in the war.

Our next event is coming up in Interfaith week. On the 15th November we will be thinking about ‘What is Peace?’  there will be input from different faith communities and an interactive discussion. I hope to see you there.

Finally, Nitin Meta, one of our best-known Hindu representatives in Croydon has written a book, with a foreword from Maneka Gandhi, called ‘India - A Civilization the World fails to recognise'. Available from Amazon. Please order a copy of the book.

Don’t forget to have a look at our Facebook page, the Faiths Together in Croydon website and you can follow us on twitter @FTiCroydon too!

All the best

Penny Smith-Orr,
Chair, Faiths Together in Croydon

Faiths Together Community Security Briefing meeting
Croydon Community Space, Bernard Weatherill House
Wednesday 10th August,2016

With incidents of racial and religious abuse rising post Brexit and  worldwide events continuing to show the level to which terrorists will go to achieve their aims and the potentially devastating consequences. This event sought to advise and familiarise faith communities on protective security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues, and to introduce the personnel within Croydon’s Metropolitan Police specifically addressing these issues. 
Following an introduction by Metropolitan Police Borough Commander Andy Tarrant the evening progressed with a Protective Security Presentation from the staff on the Counter Terrorism Security Desk:
The main points were:
  • In the event of an incident the effectiveness of your response is of paramount importance in protecting your community and your buildings, have a plan and leaders who can implement it should something suspicious occur.
  • Guidance on how to spot suspicious behaviour at your venue by non members of your community who may be planning a disruption.
  • If you personally involved in an terror incident anywhere remember RUN HIDE TELL  - get safe and report the incident to the confidential hotline below, program it into you phones now so it is to hand.
Croydon Counter Terrorism Security Desk at
If you have any questions you can contact Ben Turner or James Baster on 07789 710213

The evening continued with a presentation on Police engagement and Crime reporting by the newly appointed Croydon Community Faiths Liaison Officer DC Alex Starr and, significantly, the offer of visiting faith venues to advise and educate the wider community members in areas discussed during the event.
In excess of 100 people attended together with community policing officers PCs Bradley Hill & Lorna Allen both ZD Town Centre Team and Tom Rowlatt & Andy Smith both Fairfield NPT along with Fiona Baker DOCO (Design Out Crime Officer) who all helped at the event.

There has been some really positive feedback about the event from many of the attendees.

Diwali celebrations in Croydon

On Saturday 22nd October there was a celebration of Diwali in central Croydon. Organised by the Hindu Council of Croydon there was five hours of singing, traditional dancing from many parts of India and general entertainment which the crowds all thoroughly enjoyed. There were also stalls selling Hindu items and, of course, some delicious food.
Well done to the Chair of the Hindu Council, Mayura Patel, and her team for a fantastic afternoon of celebration.
The picture shows  Dance from the Punjab by Ragasudha Vinjamuri Gals for Croydon Diwali Mela 2016
Muslim Association held its annual Eid Party on 24th July 2016 at Norbury Manor Enterprise Girls School for the Muslim community in Croydon.

The event is hosted every year to celebrate the end of Ramadan (During the month of Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn until sunset - that means eating nothing while it is daylight. The Qur'an, the holy book followed by Muslims, was first revealed during the month of Ramadan).

This year we had over 180 people who attended the event. These included members of the council and the police, representatives from Faiths Together in Croydon and many families from all over Croydon.
At the function we also had local organisation who had come along to promote their work as well as local artist who displayed their art work.

There were a number of speakers who had come along to promote the work they do in Croydon and spoke about their organisations to those present on the day.

It was great to see a number of children from the ages of 5 to 10 years old  taking part in reciting poetry and Islamic verses to a large crowd (much braver than I was at their age).The event was also covered in international media.

The Eid party ended with a hot delicious meal which was enjoyed by all.

Visit to the Croydon Gurdwara

On Saturday the 17th September 2016, Revd Andy Dovey our District Scout Chaplain, led a visit of 25 Scouts from 17th Purley, the 5th Selsdon and Addington 1st New Addington, the 39th Croydon and the 10th Croydon Scouts to the Croydon Gurdwara to learn about the Sikh faith. 
With the kind offer from the 10th Croydon that is nearby, we were invited to meet and congregate at their premises. After a short briefing we left and headed to the Gurdwara. 

We were greeted at the gate outside where some very important elements of the Sikh faith were addressed before we were allowed in. 
Firstly we had to make sure that we all had our heads covered as this is very important to the Sikh faith. This is because all Sikh Gurus since Guru Nanak have worn turbans. However, covering their hair with a turban was made an official policy by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. The main reasons to wear turbans are to take care of the hair, promote equality, and preserve the Sikh identity. We were asked that as we entered the Gurdwara that we remove our shoes and go in bare feet or with our socks on. 
We were first shown into the great hall where we were offered both fruit and drinks before we entered into the area where the Sikh people entered into prayer. 

We learnt that food and refreshment is very important to them and that the Golden temple in India feeds 100,000 people each day free of charge. 
They also do not eat any living creations as they wish to look after the world.  

We were then given a talk about the Sikh faith which included that the word Guru means Darkness to Light, that they believe in only one God, like the Christian faith they also conduct baptisms and the principles of the Sikh faith are similar to those of others faiths such as Christianity, Hindu and Muslim faiths. 

We are now working on those that came on this visit completing some questions, doing a presentation and writing a Sikh prayer before being awarded their faith badge which will be presented to them by the our District Scout Chaplain and a member of the Croydon Gurdwara. 

Simchat Torah

This is a Jewish Holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of Torah reading and the beginning of a new one. It follows after the Festival of Succot, in the month of Tishrei, occurring during the Gregorian calendar of September/October.

The main celebration of Simchat Torah takes place in the Synagogue during evening and morning services.  In the morning, the last part of Deuteronomy and the first part of Genesis are read in the Synagogue, a significant honour that is given to two men especially chosen for this. The Chatan Torah reads the last part and the Chatan Bereshis the beginning of the Torah. These translate as Bridegroom of the Law and Bridegroom of Genesis.

On each of the evening and morning services, the Torah Scrolls are taken out of the Ark and carried around the Synagogue in a series of seven circuits, singing and dancing with them on this happy time.  (In Orthodox Synagogues this is usually carried out by just men). Children often follow this procession around the Synagogue carrying flags with apples stuck onto the top.

Again, in Orthodox Congregations, boys are often called up and a large prayer shawl (Talit) is spread over all of their heads whilst a blessing over the Torah is said.

Simchat Torah, as the name suggests, is a uniquely joyous Festival in the Jewish year.

Note:   The "CH" in "Simchat" is pronounced like the same sound in the Scottish "Loch", as is our Sabbath bread "Challah".

Eid-ul-Adha,  'Festival of Sacrifice'

At Eid-ul-Adha we recall and remember the prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to.

The Story is also in the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament (Genesis 22). 
" God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, his son with Sarah. Isma’il was his son with Hagar"

The Greater Eid, is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, over  a three-day Islamic festival after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that all believers who can afford it are required to perform at lest once in their lifetime.

Ibrahim's sacrifice
Eid-ul-Adha celebrates the story of when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma'il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead..

Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents and visit the sick and assist the needy.

Eid ul Adha is a public holiday in Muslim countries. and her in the UK fall on Monday 12th September 2016.

Those Muslims all over the world who can afford to sacrifice a sheep (sometimes a goat) as a reminder of Ibrahim's obedience to Allah. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse. We share our meat among family, friends and the poor, who each get a third share.

Also at Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.

The Croydon Ratha-Yatra festival  
2nd October 2016

This annual Parade organised by ISKCON South London celebrates the event when Lord Krishna appeared in the form of the wooden deity Lord Jagannath to enable all to worship and paraded in a chariot before the population of the time.

The Croydon parade took place around North end between 12 and 2 pm with 300-400 people in the procession and included dances, a drama and a talk on the event being celebrated.  The procession then moved over to Park Hill park where food and drinks were served and a further entertainment of dance, drama, speeches and kirtans continued through until 5 pm

Prevention of Modern Slavery in Croydon
Thursday 10 November 2016 – Croydon Conference Centre, Surrey Street, CR0 1RG

09:00 – 13:00 (Registration from 08:45)
Free half day conference

Chaired by Peter Cox, Chair of CCAT, (Croydon Community Against Conference) come along and develop your understanding about the scale and depth of modern slavery and its impact on the victim.  Download a poster to find out how to book.

Modern Day Slavery

This is an important event for local authority practitioners, Police, GPs/NHS staff, UKVI, NGOs, churches, faith & community organisations, third sector and voluntary organisations.

Do you or your organisation work with children?

Are you confident about keeping children safe and what to do if something goes wrong?

Do you have an up to date safeguarding policy and guidance to make sure that children and adults are safe?  Are all your staff and volunteers trained on safeguarding?

Online training is available from the Local Authority.

If you need help or advice please contact either David Butler (Education Chair of the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board) on 020 8760 5636 or the Local Authority Designated Officers 020 8726 6000 Ext.84322 email:

National Stress Day

Come celebrate National Stress Day on 2 November at the launch of Croydon's Happy Cafe Network taking place at Click Click Gallery, Katharine Street, Croydon CR9 1ET in the presence of Croydon's Mayor starting at 10 am.  It is hoped that this will address social isolation which was found to be an issue in Croydon from the Croydon Opportunities and Fairness Commission.  Read more

Apasen Day Centre looking for Staff

Job Titles:
Deputy Coordinator  - part or full time
Support Workers      - part or full time
Driver            - full time

Negotiable, depending on experience

No of Hours:
Contact for details

To work with adults with Learning disabilities and assist them with various activities.
Read more

How to Apply:
If you are interested to work for these challenging positions please download application form and equal opportunity form from their website and email to

If you have any events you would like included in the Faiths Together in Croydon newsletter please send details to  The next newsletter will be in January/February 2017
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