£1m raised in bid for Sikh temple in Northampton
A community in Northampton has raised £1m to show its commitment to building a new place of worship and community centre in the town.
The Sikh community, co-ordinated by the Lotus Foundation, has collected the money over the past two years to pay for the purchase and development of the site of a new gurdwara and community facility, complete with offices, faith museum, classrooms and sports facilities.
When completed, members hope the new facility will be used by faith groups and other organisations from the town, as well as by the Sikh community itself.
Northampton Sikhs currently occupy a gurdwara in St George's Street and run a tiny community centre in the same road.
But with the Sikh community in the town growing all the time, pressure is increasing on the limited space available in the two buildings.
The current facilities are unable to host weddings and parking is difficult, especially for funerals. Due to the lack of space it is also a struggle to accommodate all those wanting to take part in community activities.
Harjinder Singh Kooner, chairman of the Sikh community centre and youth club, hailed reaching the £1m mark "a huge achievement".
He said: "The project to relocate away from our existing buildings has been under way for some two years now and through hard work and the generosity of members of our community we are now in the position to proceed with securing a new site.
"This is a very exciting time for us, as it should be for Northampton, as the new site will allow us to not only improve the existing services but to offer many more services, not just in Northampton but countywide."
Mr Kooner said a suitable site had been identified in the town and that the next step would be to submit a planning proposal.
He said the community was still looking for around £300,000 funding to complete the project, but that he hoped the details of the project would be finalised by the end of April.