Slough Hindu group hopes to work with locals in Jolly Woodman move

Slough-based charity GB Shri Raghavendra Swami Brundavan bought the Jolly Woodman site in January – following the pub closure announcement down to a slump in trade.

Since 2009 the volunteer-led organisation has acted as a Hindu cultural hub offering a space for religious worship, events and celebrations of the arts.

Having leased a space on White Hart Road in Slough since 2017, trustees Srihari Gubbi and Prahlad Purohit shared their delight at securing a permanent place for the community. They said: “We needed a permanent place.” 

In 2022 the charity began the challenging task of identifying the place and subsequently raising £700,000 to acquire the Jolly Woodman site, with devotees helping raise the funds in a number of ways. 

It is hoped that once up and running the Hindu hub will also open its doors to locals for yoga, meditation and prayers.

“We are a very small community. The Hindu hub can not only help us but everyone who lives locally,” they said.

“We want to work with the community and give back.

“Although we are from a Hindu sector we do not restrict anyone coming into the centre. We want to work as a community.”

GB Shri Raghavendra Swami Brundavan caters mainly to followers of Guru Raghavendra Swami, but does not turn anyone away.

During Saturday prayers around 30-40 people attend, with Prasad (offered to God and then to Devotees) during the service.

Since the plans were made public on January 31, members of the public have raised issues with noise and traffic in regard to the place of worship.

The trustees have clarified that the building will act on appointments only during the week with a weekly worship on Saturday evening.

He added that the organisation does not plan to set fireworks off on-site and prayers and celebrations are done quietly and modestly within the main premises.

“We would never exceed the level of traffic and noise of a pub,” they added.

The organisation is currently raising funds for a refurbishment set to cost £400,000. Plans submitted to the council outline how a new meditation hall will be erected with the demolition of a current outbuilding.

There are no plans to make changes to the exterior beyond signage, with the inside to undergo redecoration.

Once given the go-ahead by Buckinghamshire County Council it is expected that the refurbishment will take five to six months.

Parking to the front of the premises is public, with additional parking planned for the rear of the property.

A couple of priests will later live on-site, occupying the upstairs two-bedroom flat.

It is unknown when the local authority is set to discuss the plans.

Slough Observer | News