Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 17:44 UK
New temple for Shropshire Hindus
Neelam Sahrma and Saroj Sharma
Neelam Sharma and Saroj Sharma hope soon to be worshiping in the new temple

Shropshire Hindus are celebrating after being told they will receive a bank loan to fund a new temple, the first of its kind in the county.

The new temple and community centre will be built at Dawley Bank and will be called the Hindu Cultural Resource Centre of Telford.

Currently local Hindus worship at home, or have to travel to the nearest temple in Wolverhampton or Birmingham.

Worshipers also meet once a month at a community centre in Hadley.

As well as a temple, the new building will double up as a community centre, offering drop-in facilities, computer classes, yoga classes and more. "This will be open for everyone, everyone who can come and join us," Ritu Rastogi said.

The group have raised more than £43,000 in just 16 months, as well as a number of pledges for furniture, fittings and decorating.

The group successfully negotiated with Telford and Wrekin Council to take on the Dawley Bank building, but were waiting for confirmation of the bank loan. The group hope to have the new temple ready in time for Diwali, on 17 October.

Neelam Sharma explained that having a temple of their own will make a big difference: "It would be nice to go whenever you want, rather than have a set time once a month."

Shropshire Hindus currently meet on the first Sunday of every month at Castle Farm Community Centre in Hadley. They gather from 2-4pm for prayers, to share food, and socialise.

Malinee Dhulasha, another member of the group, said it's a way to get to know one another: "Even though we're Hindus, we've got the Gujaratis, the Punjabis, the South Indians... so we're really enjoying everyone coming together."



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