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02 November 2007

Green light for groundbreaking Multi-Faith Centre at the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey received planning permission for a purpose-built Multi-Faith Centre on its Guildford campus earlier this week. Open to all students and staff in its multi-cultural and multi-faith community. Believed to be the first of its kind to have such a broad scope, the Centre will house distinct spaces for six world faith communities within a single building.

The Multi-Faith Centre will create a base for the University Chaplaincy and will enable the further development of its inter-faith programmes. The Centre will contain dedicated space for Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities, together with open space for the practices of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. The design of the building will emphasise respect for difference and create the possibility of bridge-building and dialogue across cultural and religious divides. A meeting space and café will be set at the heart of the building and will provide space for coffee, conversation and encounter.

The Multi-Faith Centre project is the latest in a number of initiatives led by the University’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy. The Centre will cost £6.5m and will be financed by a fundraising appeal with completion due in 2010.

Alex Goldberg, Jewish Chaplain at the University of Surrey comments:

"...the project will enable both the University and Guildford to be seen as leading the way in innovative solutions to issues of community relations, cohesion and integration which are of importance to us all."

Dr Abdul Mateen Sansom, Muslim Chaplain adds:

"As well as being a sorely needed practical solution to student needs, I believe the design and underpinning ethos of this project have potential for notable impact nationally and internationally."

Quotes from Chaplains of other faiths are available on request.

Media enquiries: Stuart Miller, Press Office at the University of Surrey, Tel: 01483 689314 or E-mail: s.e.miller@surrey.ac.uk