BOLTON has the highest Hindu population in the whole of northern England and an ambitious project has been launched to create a Hindu Centre.

Bolton Hindu Forum wants to build a community centre which will serve as a base for its many groups and which will also accommodate the many year-round events and celebrations it holds.

Chairman Manu Mistry said: "Up until now we've operated out of a room in the Veda Mandir Temple but because we are growing all the time and establishing more and more groups and projects, it is no longer adequate."

The Forum is looking for a suitable building to acquire and if one cannot be found it will build a new one.

"It will most likely cost several hundred thousand pounds which is why we are focusing on fundraising," said Mr Mistry.

A new monthly lottery and a buy-a-brick appeal will be established. Another avenue will focus on legacies and bequests.

"In our religion it is not the done thing to have a place in the temple where people can view relatives prior to their funeral. So, an area of the new community centre could be used for this.

"We are thinking of having a wall in there inscribed with the names of those who have made a donation in their will."

A Women's Group and a variety of sports groups have already been established by the Forum but at the moment they rely on schools for places to meet.

Similarly, there are no regular premises that can be used for the cultural and traditional Hindu celebrations and workshops that the Forum runs.

Mr Mistry said: "A purpose-built centre would also allow us to hold social groups for the elderly."

To make a donation please contact 01204 238018