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Midlands volunteers mark National Langar Week

Sikh temples offer free, vegetarian food to people of all backgrounds at their langars Credit: PA Wire

Volunteers at Sikh gurdwaras across the Midlands are today marking the beginning of National Langar Week, to highlight the huge increase in non-worshippers using temples as a place to eat. The event runs until the 7th of November. While gurdwaras are open to all, volunteers say some places of worship are now struggling to meet an increase in demand for people coming to eat free meals.

Foodbank use across the UK has increased over the past year, with nearly a million people using them.

Sikhs attending a Vaisakhi parade in Wolverhampton Credit: ITV News Central

It is the first time Sikhs across the Midlands will be taking part in National Langar Week. Langar is the name given to a 500-year-old system introduced to eradicate segregation and promote equality, while sharing food at the same level among all congregations. Around 300 gurdwaras across the country serve free hot meals to all for up to 14 hours a day every day of the year. Figures from the Sikh community show around 400 tonne of flour, lentils, rice, vegetables, salt, sugar and more is used weekly in cooking meals - all of which is paid by community donations.

"Sikhs share the same British values as the rest of the country...We set up National Langar Week in order to open the doors to our communities as well as our way of life, and what better way in which to do this, than by the sharing of food. We have a vast number of youth-led Sikh societies, some of the largest Sikh Gurdwaras in the UK and community groups who will be holding special events up and down the country and we urge everyone to feel welcome and to take part in the activities.”

– Rupinder Kaur Virdee, co-founder of the Sikh Press Association

Click here to see more stories about the increased use of foodbanks across the Midlands.


Chief Rabbi visits The National Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire

The National Holocaust Centre in North Nottinghamshire. Credit: ITV News Central

The UK's Chief Rabbi has visited The National Holocaust Centre in North Nottinghamshire today to remember those who lost their lives during Hitler's final solution.

It's the first time Ephraim Mirvis has visited the centre also known as Beth Shalom, since being made Chief Rabbi last year.

As well as seeing the memorial gardens he also visited the new interactive exhibition called 'The Journey'.

Businesses come together to celebrate Diwali

Diwali fireworks light up the sky Credit: ITV News Central

Businesses in one part of Birmingham are coming together to celebrate Diwali in a special community outdoor celebration.

Staff from 560 mainly independent businesses who are part of the Soho Road BID group, which stretches from Holyhead Road to Soho Hill, will join thousands from across nearby communities to help mark one of the biggest events in the Asian calendar. The Midlands is home to some of the most celebrated Diwali events outside India.

The Festival of Light celebration in Birmingham begins at 2pm today, with lights officially being switched on at 7pm. The event will feature well-known bhangra stars, many of whom are originally from nearby areas in the city.

“We are very excited about running our first community event. It’s been a lot of hard work and determination and you’ll get to see a great celebration that the community can be proud of.”

– BID manager Craig Bucky

“The long term strategy is to make Soho Road an exciting place to work and live which in turn will create more visitors to the area.”

– BID Chairman Dipak Patel


Thousands expected for annual Diwali celebrations

The parade culminates with a spectacular fireworks display Credit: ITV News Central

Around 35,000 people are expected for Leicester's annual Diwali parade and fireworks display this evening.

The event is widely credited as being the largest of its kind outside of India.

The annual Diwali parade down Leicester's Belgrave Road Credit: ITV News Central

Police however have been warning people attending the Hindu festival to be aware of those intent on committing crime.

Asian gold is particularly attractive to pickpockets and muggers, as it has a higher carat level than other kinds of jewellery.

Bilingual anti-crime leaflets handed out ahead of Diwali

Thousands of bilingual leaflets urging people to take care when heading to this year’s Diwali celebrations in Leicester have been handed out around the city.

The celebrations in Leicester are among the biggest outside of India Credit: ITV News Central

The leaflets contain tips for avoiding becoming a victim of robbery, including:

  • Do not wear your jewellery in public
  • If you do, ensure that it is not on show - for example, wear a scarf to cover a necklace
  • When you go out, secure your home. Make sure that windows and doors are locked
  • Leave a light on if you go out in the evening or overnight
  • When out and about, be aware of your surroundings. Remember to be alert to what is happening around you.
  • If you feel unsafe change your direction and head to an area that is busy and well lit

Diwali safety campaign launched by Leicester police

With 35,000 people expected at Sunday’s Diwali celebrations in Leicester, police in the region are urging people to keep their jewellery safe.

Around 35,000 people are expected at Sunday's light switch-on event Credit: ITV News Central

The city’s Diwali celebrations in Belgrave Road are one of the biggest events outside of India - and while for the most part the Hindu festival passes in good spirits, such a high quantity of people can attract a criminal element.

Asian gold is particularly attractive to pickpockets and muggers, as it has a higher carat level than other kinds of jewellery.

The lights switch-on on Sunday October 12 will be followed by the Diwali Day celebration on October 23.

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