- Inter Faith Week (2001 and 2012)
- Multi-Faith Prayer Room
The Multi-Faith Prayer Room has been in active public use for just over a quarter of a year now (it opened at the end of the last Inter Faith Week, in the last days of November 2011. There's been an overwhelmingly positive response: Highcross hasn't received a single negative comment about it, either from users criticising its location or the fact that it's been converted from its previous use as a disabled toilet or from anyone opposed to it in principle. It has proved popular with customers and is virtually in constant use. At certain times on certain days, people have even been prepared to queue to use it.
A number of prayer mats have been left in the room, which have been collected in Lost Property. No one has claimed any of them. It may be the case that users of the room have left these deliberately, as Highcross decided from the start not to provide prayer mats in the room.
Some users have taken it upon themselves to mark on the wall the direction of Mecca (someone keeps writing Qibla (Arabic for "Point of Adoration", the direction to be faced when offering the Muslim salat, or Obligatory Prayer). Highcross staff have been cleaning this off, only for it to be done again. They'll be putting on some permanent, professional-looking mark to indicate this direction shortly.
Signage throughout Highcross will be upgraded soon and this room will be included, making it accessible and visible from all over the site.
Hammersons has looked upon this as a test case and they're very pleased with how it's gone so far. They'll now ensure that all new-build properties have a similar facility provided from the get-go and that suitable space is provided in existing sites.
On the topic of Inter Faith Week 2012, some tentative ideas were floated regarding making the display even more attractive and interactive. possibly involving live music and dance, as well as planning visits by school parties. There's a constant stream of schoolchildren coming to the site every week as part of the ongoing "Learn Highcross" project; during Inter Faith Week this could include a planned visit to our display. Watch this space for further developments!
I'm grateful to Jo for accepting posters and fliers for REDP's forthcoming Choice Unlimited event, that she'll ensure are put on display around Highcross.