Apna Virsa is a community organisation that is committed to the following objectives: To widen participation by increasing access to learning opportunities in fun and creative ways for individuals and families that live and work in Berks and Bucks. To contribute to community cohesion, tolerance and integration. To deliver activities which promote Health, Culture and Arts with the sole purpose of benefitting the lives of local communities in Berks, Bucks and other nearby counties.
Apna virsa was set up in January 2007 with the following Strategic objectives:
Cultural Development Objective
To promote and share traditional and contemporary South Asian culture, arts and heritage.
We provide opportunities for people to:
- – Explore, record and share South Asian cultural heritage.
- – Experience and enjoy South Asian cultural activities and traditions.
- – Learn South Asian art forms including dance, music and storytelling.
- – We celebrate and showcase traditional South Asian festivals.
- – We keep South Asian heritage and culture alive amongst young British people of South Asian descent.
We use South Asian arts, culture and heritage as a medium to:
- – Create opportunities for self-expression and empowerment.
- – Address local disadvantage and respond to local community needs.
- – Break down barriers between different ages, ethnic or social groups.
- – Build awareness and understanding of diversity.
- – Promote community cohesion, tolerance & integration and improve communication between different communities.
- – We widen our community participation by building effective partnerships with local charities, schools and community groups.
- We promote the benefits of healthy eating and create opportunities for people and communities to make positive food choices.
- We encourage active lifestyles and provide culturally appropriate activities which help overcome barriers to participation.
- We enable people from all backgrounds to participate in social interaction, helping reduce isolation, raise confidence and improve mental wellbeing.
- We provide opportunities for informal learning and volunteering.
- We understand the needs of the local communities we work within and provide opportunities for the most disenfranchised and hard to reach to benefit from our activities.
Our Team Is Made up off:
- – Management Committee
- – Project Co-ordinators
- – Sessional Tutors and Artists
- – Volunteers
Awards & Recognition:
Apna Virsa was awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Voluntary Service in Year 2015.
The Queens Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 in celebration of her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee and announced on the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Its purpose is to recognise groups of individuals who give their time freely for the benefit of others. It is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon groups of this kind and is equivalent in status to the MBE.
Winners of the award are presented with a certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen and a domed glass crystal. Representatives from the winning groups are also invited to attend a Royal Garden Party.
Feedback and quotes for Slough’s Community Ambassadors project
I have learnt a lot from this project. I made new friends. I learnt Yoga which is so good for health. I enjoyed Healthy cooking course. Now I love making healthy food because good health is very important for me.
Avtar Kaur Rai
I have made new friends from different cultures. Now I have a reason to come out of the house. I look forward to come out and attend these classes.
I have learnt to improve my diet by eating healthy. We have been given lots of books on how to know more about nutritions. I am diabetic, I have learnt how to look after myself by improving my diet. I enjoy exercise classes.
I have made new friends. I have lots of fun in the different classes. I learn about my health, about my community and find out what’s happening in Slough. This project makes me very happy. I have learnt how to be healthy and eat healthy food. All the classes are very informative and I love meeting other people.
I have learnt lots of different skills. I have learnt gardening, yoga, exercise, healthy eating and music. I have made new friends. I now come out of the house more often. It has given me confidence. I have reduced my weight by 5 kgs. I have improved my English.
I am 60 years old and I have enjoyed and learnt a lot from these classes. I have benefitted from the yoga and exercise classes. I learnt how to eat healthy food and stay in good health. I look forward to come for these sessions.
Usha bala Gossain