Indian migration to Northern Ireland dates back almost a century. During the 1930s, many of the early migrants came to Northern Ireland in search of a better life and improved business prospects. Many of these newcomers came from the northern states of India, specifically Punjab and predominantly settled in either Belfast or the northwest.
As the Indian community in Belfast continued to grow during the 20th century, they sought to establish a centre where their members could meet and worship. The building we know as the Indian Community Centre (ICC) today was formerly the Church Halls of the neighbouring Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church. This building was purchased in 1979 and inaugurated two years later in 1981. On the 16th May 1982, sacred Deities were installed in the Laximinarayan Hindu temple, which is situated inside the centre.
The centre’s community development and outreach programmes are designed to promote integration between the Indian community and local residents. Crucially, the ICC also aims to provide facilities for the members of the community to maintain their heritage and cultural values. Past programmes include talks on Indian values, spirituality, Indian heritage and traditional performances.
The souvenir booklet contains details of the original trustees and other community members who helped fund the purchase of the centre in 1979. The document represents the sacrifice and contribution the founding members have made to inspire and enable people today to carry forward the Indian cultural and traditional values of the most diverse and biggest democracy of the world.