Jai Shri Krishna
The Indian Association Oldham was established in 1968 with the arrival in Oldham of people from India, way back in the late 1950s. By late 1960s approximately 40 Indian families had made Oldham as their new home.
They were faced with many difficulties in their new world with the culture shocks,language barriers and adjusting to the cold climate.
It was Late Sri Jagatsingh Sisodia who took the lead in inspiring his fellow countrymen to face these challenges and create an organisation to help them overcome these difficulties in Oldham. A huge support followed behind his vision of promoting good will, preserving the rich Indian culture, and serving the community selflessly. Hence the Indian Association Oldham was then conceived on the 21st April 1968, with its Head Quarters made at Mr Sisodia’s residence 60 Slater Street, Oldham.
Following the sudden death of Sri Sisodia, Dr B B Srivastava was elected as the new President of the Association with Mr Rajnibhai Patel as the General Secretary. Dr Srivastava played a great role in finding a closed down building for the Association. The building situated at 59 Fern Street, Oldham, was bought in 1971 with donations from the members and converted into a community centre known as Bharat Bhavan. Oldham’s first Hindu temple was established on the first floor of Bharat Bhavan on the 8th September 1974, having the idols of Lord Krishna and Radhaji as the presiding deities. Late Sri Manubhai Nimavat was appointed as the first honorary priest of the temple.
Mr Bharatkumar Sisodia the General Secretary from 1976, obtained the first major grant of £34,000 from the Urban Aid programme in 1979 for the Association. With this substantial aid, an extensive renovation work was carried out to Bharat Bhavan to improve the facilities for the members, including purchasing adjoining property at No 57 Fern Street. The Bharat Bhavan was extended and more Hindu Deities were installed in the Temple area on 21st April 1984.
With time, there followed the arrival of more people of Indian origin choosing to settle in Oldham. As Bharat Bhavan began to prove too small to cater for the growing number of Indians, a new drive was launched by the then General Secretary Sri Shashibhai Mohandas, to build a bigger Temple and a Community Centre. With donations from members of the Indian community and Sri Mohandas securing grants from the Lottery Funding a new community centre was built.
The new temple in this new building was inaugurated on the 8th July 1999, followed by an official opening of the Community Centre on the 5th December 1999.
The IAO has come a long way since 1968, and its pioneering services are enjoyed by people from many backgrounds in Oldham as well as from outside of Oldham.
Many individuals have played great role in the building of this great organisation, notably Sri Ramsinh Kumpavat, Sri Gurmohansingh Chowhan, Sri Vishnubhai Mohandas, Late Sri Shivjibhai Gorasia, Late Sri Naginbhai Chauhan, and Late Sri Kantibhai Chauhan
The aims of the Association is to work towards a vibrant and flourishing community participating in cultural and community activities in Oldham and the surrounding area whilst developing a ‘Centre of Excellence’ open to all.
The Association is ever busy with its army of volunteers working tirelessly in expanding its activities. The year 2015 has marked with yet another milestone in the history of the Association with the building of an annex to cater for more activities and providing more facilities. Whole budget of approx £400,000 was raised by the volunteers to build the annex.
The fact that the Association has no administration staff leads to a very busy schedule for the active executive committee members.The Bollywood Dhamaka fundraising event in 2015 put on by dedicated volunteers Team India headed by Sri Sasibhai Patel was able to generate the shortfall of £50,000 in funds for the annex.
With its involvement in many charitable activities in the Oldham Metropolitan Borough, the Association has made a profound mark, and has gained respect from all quarters of the community of Oldham. The Association has proved itself to be a highly responsible and respectable organisation with its remarkable work over the years. The Association is continuously engaged in the promotion of community welfare and generating goodwill, respect and harmony among all the communities of the Borough.
The Association is engaged in running many first class programmes running on a weekly basis, which include sessions on Dance classes, Youth Club, Luncheon Club, Saheli women’s group, Shakha group for boys and girls, community garden project as well as a continuation of the Temple, Registry and religious activities.
The Association is committed to advancing and supporting the social, cultural, religious, leisure, welfare and educational needs of the community residing in Oldham and promoting good relations between people of different backgrounds.
We invite you to join us with your families at our centre, make new friends and have great fun!
President and Executive Committee
Indian Association Oldham.