What I’ve been up to in Leicester over the past couple of months – by Ang Langrick
1) For the past few years I have been working with St Philip’s Centre which is an organisation designed to educate people about different faiths. I have done a school assembly 1 hour Q&A on paganisms to a village school just after Samhain last year. I have also done a couple of St Philip’s roadshows, where a group of facilitators from different faiths go to a school for a day and have a table each to display their faith objects and then groups of children will have between 5 and 10 minutes to learn something about each faith (another name for it is Speed Faithing). I have another roadshow on the 19th April where we’re going out to Gainsborough in Derbys. Working with St Philips has led me to be invited to various other organisation.
2) Grace Space – Grace space is a new project being run by the Leicestershire Cricket Ground. They are building a new building specifically as a place of education, repose and meditation. I was asked to be part of the initial discussion group to discuss what sort of space would be best as a general space for all. There will be other discussion groups once the new design has been drawn up and once the actual building is in place.
One of my suggestions is that not only a building but also a green space next to the building should be cultivated and also used as a quiet space, this has been accepted positively not only be the Cricket club staff but also other members of the discussion group from other faiths.
3) I have been co-opted into the Leicester Cathedral Heritage team, in order to discuss ideas on how to include pagans in the use of the new facilities they are building. So watch this space for updates
4) On the 29th March, I was invited to a Teams Meeting with the HM Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire to discuss The Big Help Out which is being put together in regards of His Majesties Coronation and is looking for people/organisations to sign up various projects over the next few months.
One of the things that was discussed was having events where charities and voluntary groups can set up a stalls for free in order to promote their organisation. If anyone is looking at doing a project in Leicestershire that could be long-term then this could be supported by the Big Help Out, or if volunteers are needed that don’t need to be specifically pagan. Also if there are pagans out there who would like to volunteer for projects in Leicestershire the Big Help Out or Voluntary Action Leicester are the places to apply.
5) On the 31st March I was invited to the Dialogue Society’s Ramadan Dinner, one of 350 guests of all faiths and backgrounds, it was a wonderful evening making new friends and seeing old ones. There were 2 Pagans invited and we were both happy to share our knowledge of paganism. If you haven’t heard of the Dialogue Society, it was started in 1936 by a sufi muslim in Turkey and their key belief is “People before religion” and they do a lot to help out where they can.
6) One of Leicester’s active Pagan Elder contacted me to say she’s been having talks about applying for a National Heritage grant, for a Pagan project in Leicester.
They seem to think that we would qualify for a large grant if presented in the right way and met their criteria. This could be a large project that could re-occur, or self sustain yearly, and could employ at least one person running this project, paying for venue, office, transport etc. So any ideas would be gratefully appreciated!