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Prince and PM praise Hindu youth initative

Prince Charles and Tony Blair
Prince Charles and Tony Blair

After the very successful Hindu Youth Festival 2001--held to create awareness of the OCHS; provide thought-provoking programmes for young people and attract potential donors to the Centre--the trustees agreed to host the youth initiative for one more year. This allowed the successful development to establish itself, leading to registration as a separate charity.

This year festivals, running under the banner of, 'Get Connected', were held in three cities, London, Birmingham and Preston. Below we include an overview of these very successful events and two messages of support from the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister.
"The festival of Diwali has become an important religious festival in this country. It is very encouraging to see young people planning for the future of this and other festivals, and thereby ensuring the development and continuity in this country.
Possibly even more important is your commitment to 'get connected' with young people from backgrounds other than your own. Presenting your tradition to society at large in this way can only help the all-important cause of cultural understanding amongst the many different communities that make up the British people. This is very much the message of the 'Respect' programme I launched earlier this year through my Prince's Trust, so I am delighted that young Hindus are working to preserve and develop their traditions at the same time as learning about other cultures from the environment in which you live.
It is heartening to see your vision, concern and commitment to building a strong sense of your Hindu community within the context of British society and I am so glad your Hindu Youth Initiative has produced good results and I pray it will go from strength to strength."
HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales
"I am delighted to send my very best wishes to everyone attending the Diwali Youth Event at Alexandra Palace. This event provides young British Hindus with an important opportunity to explore their culture and their faith. It will also give the participants an opportunity to discuss what it means to be a young Hindu in Britain today.
This event gives young Hindus the opportunity to come together in the run-up to Diwali. Diwali is obviously and most importantly a festival celebrated by Hindus. But it is also a festival that contains a message for all of us, whatever our faith. Diwali is the festival of lights symbolising joy, brightness and happiness. The victory of light over darkness and of good over evil. It is, most importantly, a time of goodwill and understanding between all communities."
Rt. Hon. Tony Blair MP, The Prime Minister London

Get Connected

Alexandra Palace on the 26th and 27th of October 2002.

  • 33 groups participated in the event from spiritual, cultural, community-based, and university-based organisations.
  • An astonishing 9,500 people attended the event over two days. The stage saw 2 full days of acts from young children singing to Bollywood dance numbers.
  • Respected leaders in the community, media representatives and members of parliament attended the opening ceremony. It took 10 months of planning, 23 big meetings, and 100's of small meetings.
  • Over 160 people participated in the event from start to finish.
  • It took 1 full day to set-up... and 2 hours to break down!
  • The event was funded totally by the generosity of the Hindu community.


Get Connected took place at the prestigious Centenary Square and REP Theatre in Birmingham on Saturday 16th November .
  • 3,000 people attended the event.
  • The event was the last of the three 'Get Connected' events in the country and the only one that was both indoor and outdoor.
  • It formed part of the Annual Diwali celebrations and was organised in conjunction with the Hindu Council of Birmingham.
  • It was attended by a number of dignitaries including Claire Short MP.
  • The Main stage outside in the Centenary Square hosted comedy acts, dramatisations, singers and Bollywood dancers.
  • The Square also consisted of food stalls and career stalls.
  • The entire event was organised within 2 months.
  • Over 70 volunteers participated in the planning and organising of the event.


Get Connected took place at the prestigious Guild Hall in Preston on Saturday 13th July 2002
  • 3,500 youth, volunteers, dignitaries and families descended on the Guild Hall
  • to attend the event.
  • The event was specifically developed for the Northern region.
  • It was the first of three groundbreaking national events.
  • It formed part of the 'Spirit of Friendship Festival' and Golden Jubilee celebrations.
  • It began with a procession through the city centre with the distinct beat of the 'Dhol'. Dignitaries such as Mark Hendrick MP and the Mayor of Preston, Jonathan Saksena later joined the procession.
  • The evening cultural show featuring comedy acts, dramatisations, acapela singers and dance acts by youth groups and societies from Manchester, Preston, Bolton, Liverpool Glasgow, Oldham, Ashton-Under-Lynne, Blackburn, Warrington and Wigan.
  • The entire event was organised within 2 months.
  • Over 50 volunteers participated in the planning and organising of the event.