It is a privilege and an honour to be able to serve as President of the Gujarati Arya Association London. My father, the late Mohanbhai Dajibhai Chauhan, was one of the founding members of the Mandal and served as Secretary until his untimely death in 1982 at the age of 51.
I joined the Executive Committee in 2006, soon after the Hall was completed and become operational. Most of the hard work in raising the funds, financing, refurbishing and building the Hall from a derelict building had already been successfully completed. My sincere gratitude and appreciation goes to every single person who was involved in this mammoth project.
As a Mandal, we had ventured into the unknown, as we were now operating a hall for the community. However, there were many challenges along the way, both financial and physical, but we all worked as a team to overcome them. We pulled on our resources and energy to meet the financial challenge of paying the huge mortgage we had at that time, as well as arranging events for the community.
Although we still have a significant mortgage to service, we are still continuously improving the hall in order to secure our main revenue stream, being hall hire. However, we have not forgotten why we are here – to serve the community and fulfil our role as guardians of the GAA London.
A President is only as good as the support he or she receives from the whole team, and I’m proud to say I have a great team that supports me. A team that includes everyone from Committee members, Trustees and all the other groups of volunteers. I am also proud to say that we get a huge amount of support and appreciation from the community with the work that we do. I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support and hard work that they give me and my team.
Apart from the financial challenges, the biggest task we now face is how to secure the future of the Mandal. In order to attract and appeal to the younger generation, we will need to try new, sometimes bold and innovative ideas. It may be a long process, with no right or wrong way, and may even involve making unpopular decisions. But I’m sure that you’ll agree that we have to try different methods to engage with the younger community. We are living in a fast and ever changing world with different lifestyles, inter-marriages and sometimes, mixed cultures, for which we will need to adapt. But with the right team and community support, we are positive that we will secure the future of the Mandal for many generations to come.