In 1972, Ugandan Asians arrived in England leaving most of their assets behind. At first, they lived in camps set up by the government and some groups gradually started moving to Norwich, Norfolk. Some of the children studied at Norwich City College and were welcomed by existing students. The Overseas Students Association arranged events to welcome these families. As a result, an active Asian community developed. Meanwhile, many of the young adults began working in Norfolk.
They were warmly welcomed by David Roberts, Sister Monica, Peter Jarvis, and Ann & Ron Borrett who helped them to overcome language barriers and provided aid with housing. They are truly indebted to them for all of their support. As a result, people started slowly integrating and joining hands with other groups and communities.
They began to organise mainly religious functions. After nearly 10 years of continuous growth, an Asian Society was officially formed in August 1983; a general meeting was called and the Norfolk & Norwich Asian Society (NANAS) was born. Constitution was finalised and the society started to become known to local councils and communities. Many people enthusiastically contributed to the formation of this society.
With lot of support from members they started taking part in Civic Bodies such as City and County Councils, Norfolk Constabulary, Health, Education, Prison Services, Norfolk & Norwich Racial Equality Council and many more, hence spreading the good name of the society everywhere.
With good support from the Management Committee, Trustees and General Membership NANAS could hold lots of religious as well as community events. They are proud to have achieved many of their goals:
- Gujarati language classes
- Classical dance classes
- Participation in the Lord Mayor’s procession with stage performances in front of City Hall.
- Set up Indian food stalls in the city centre to raise funds for disaster appeals.
As a Society, we have had 4 major achievements:
- Arranged door to door collections for Andhra Pradesh Cyclone Appeal and invited the Indian High commissioner to Norwich to present the donation
- In 1997, they celebrated India’s 50th Independence Anniversary with a variety entertainment event at St Andrews Hall. Invited dignitaries, Deputy Indian High Commissioner and Norwich & Norfolk Councilors were presented with memento keepsakes for their offices as tokens of appreciation.
- In 2001, for the Gujarat / Kutch Earthquake a street collection in Norwich raised a substantial amount of £20,000, including £9000 which was raised overnight by Norwich Theatre Royal and was handed over to BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden.
- In 1993, 10th and in 2003, 20th anniversaries were celebrated with a grand function and booklet. We are indebted to local businesses and well-wishers who sponsored the printing costs of the booklet.
In 2010 , at the society’s Annual General Meeting, it was agreed to change the name of the Society from NANAS to NANIS (Norfolk & Norwich Indian Society).
There are always dedicated workers who keep toiling to keep the society alive and are willing to work for it’s betterment. We can’t thank them enough.
GOD BLESS OUR SOCIETY
Written by : Dinesh Trivedi / Daksha Raja