Watford Bridge of Peace

Swedish politicians and civil servants inquire about the Watford Bridge of Peace

Bridge of Peace photo.

A delegation of 5 Swedish politicians and civil servants visited Watford on Wednesday 19th November. They came from a highly dense multi ethnic and refugee population area in Gottenburg. The purpose of their visit to London was to find out about models of good practice regarding integration and community cohesion. Through a contact of one of our Peace sister, they heard about the Watford Bridge of Peace and expressed interest in meeting us.

We welcomed them at the Watford town Hall where they first met with Mayor Dorothy Thornhill for over an hour. The Mayor gave them some good advice and suggestions on the relationship between the Council and the voluntary sector and ways to work effectively for the benefit of the whole town. She emphasized the importance of prioritizing projects that favoured community cohesion instead of supporting a single group e.g Africans or Muslims... She mentioned the Bridge of Peace and the Watford Celebration as a good example of community cohesion.

After a short visit around the Town Hall and lunch at the YMCA, we walked to the Multi-Cultural Community Centre for the second part of our programme. Sharifa Chaudry Chair of the MCCC welcomed the Swedish delegation and talked about the activities that are taking place at the centre. The afternoon consisted of presentations from the New Hope Trust, a Christian charity for the homeless, the Watford African Caribbean Association, the Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy with their ‘Street Angels’ project: a project that takes care of people involved in the night life of the town. Francoise gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Watford Bridge of Peace from its start in 2003 with the first Bridge of Peace ceremony bringing 40 Christian and Muslim women together in a sisterhood ceremony and described the various events and projects that came out of the Bridge of Peace: mainly a regular interfaith talk between the 3 Abrahamic faiths and the Watford Celebration which brings on a yearly base all the ethnic, faith and charitable organisations of the town.

The visit of the Swedish delegation gave us not only the opportunity to introduce the Watford Bridge of Peace, the Women’s Federation for World Peace to the Swedish politicians and civil servants but it also gave us the opportunity to share our work with the two main respected Christian organisations of our town: the New Hope Trust and the Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy, both of which are supported by all the Christian churches in Watford.


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