BATCA is a network of individuals and organisations who are committed to creating a harmonious, thriving community where there is trust and friendship between people of all faiths, cultures, ages and backgrounds. Since its inception in 2006, BATCA has served the local community in various different ways to fulfil its purpose and continue to do so today.
2018 has once again been very successful for BATCA. We started off by presenting a cheque for £2750 to St. Georges Hospital from the money raised at the Fun Day. Organisers from Al Risalah Trust, St. Augustine’s Church and BATCA gathered at the hospital on 17th January with Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan Tooting MP, to handover the donation which brought the total donated so far to £20000.
A new event, the BATCA Multifaith Walk took place on 13th May. It drew a crowd of over 60 of all ages and was a huge success. Each place of worship visited gave the walkers a warm welcome. The walk was a partnership between BATCA and local history group Summerstown182. Many thanks are due to Geoff Simmons for planning and guiding the walk and for narrating the history of the streets.
Our Annual Fun Day on 22nd September showed great community spirit, despite the weather. Everyone pulled together and morale was high. The stalls – food, community, charity and commercial alike – all looked good, and despite reduced footfall, there was a real buzz. A lot of appreciative comments from the crowd, stallholders and the VIPs. The weeks and months of preparation paid off.
Faiths and community came together at the eleventh annual BATCA Peace Prayers at Tooting Broadway on 10th October. Revd. Andrew Davey led the event. Priests and leaders from four faiths, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Sikh, said prayers for peace, while Cllr Piers McAusland, the Mayor of Wandsworth and Simon Hogg, Leader of the opposition on Wandsworth Council spoke in response.
Along with BATCA’s own events we publicised numerous events, via email and our website from a number of community groups to connect more people and initiatives with each other in line with our goals. We also tried to bring Guest Speakers to our public meetings who represent diverse organisations from Balham and Tooting and wrote a letter in support of Mushkil Aasaan Tooting.
I’d like to thank all the BATCA team for all their efforts on a voluntary basis, especially Kate Allan who keeps us all bonded together with her exceptional organisational skills. Our finances also reflected the commitment to invest back into the community whilst having minimum admin expenses. This year due to low reserves we need a lot of your financial support to keep the activities going.
Once again, thanks to all those who supported us in bringing Balham and Tooting communities together in any way, either via a donation, attending an event, offering their venue or spreading the word. I wish BATCA every success in 2019 and beyond. Looking forward to meeting you all at the Community Heroes 2019 awards celebration on 6th March.
Ali Jaffri, BATCA Chair, February 2019