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A group, which has been working to share South Asian culture, stories and memories, has now been shortlisted for a prestigious national volunteering award.

Loughborough’s Anand Mangal Ladies Group, which consists of mainly over-60s, is in the running to take top prize in the volunteers of the year category at this year’s Museum and Heritage Awards.

Picture: Anand Mangal Ladies Group

Working with Leicestershire County Council’s communities and wellbeing service since 2019, the group co-curated the Stitching Traditions exhibition at Charnwood Museum, which used fashion and textiles to explore the traditions and memories of the Partition of India.

Supported by Loughborough University’s Memories of Migration project, the exhibition was re-imagined for South Asian Heritage Month and featured objects which the group gifted to the museum service to make its collections more representative.

This was showcased at Market Harborough Museum where it also became part of the first ‘virtual museum’ in the county and viewed by more than 4,000 people.

Volunteers worked with Leicestershire’s Creative Learning Service to share their culture with young people. They developed curriculum-linked lesson plans and delivered school workshops covering the themes; My Journey; Memories of Childhood and Schools; Clothing, Craft, Culture and Belief; Navratri Stick Dancing and Diwali.

Their work has also helped to enhance the council’s heritage offer and engage new audiences by providing new interpretations and histories as well as memories and connections, allowing visitors and young people to learn more about the different cultures and experiences diverse communities. 

The group created a space and environment where different community groups across Leicestershire could feel welcomed, listened to, and represented, as well as supporting wider projects and acting as ‘community connectors’ with the Asian community.

The Anand Mangal group is up against five other volunteer groups and individuals, with the winner being announced on May 11.

Councillor Christine Radford, cabinet member for heritage, leisure and arts, said: “The Stitching Traditions exhibition and the ongoing schools project leading up to and following on from it, has been a revelation, both for the group and the museum professionals who worked on it with them.

“Their work has reached and engaged new audiences who might not normally have been involved with culture, as well as giving museums and heritage staff a new insight into how to develop new ways to represent the diverse communities in Leicestershire.”

Find out more about the group on their Facebook page, at:

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