A charity, recognised by Prince William for the wealth of services it provides the community, has celebrated its 25-year anniversary.

The Prince visited Together As One, formerly known as Aik Saath, on January 17 alongside some of the young people the charity supports. 

Together As One was formed 25 years ago to help tackle gang violence between Asian groups in Slough which was rife in the mid-1990s.

At the height of the tensions, there was rioting – shops were burned, vehicles were damaged and young people were seriously hurt.

The conflict received national media attention and on March 30, 1998, Channel 4 screened a documentary about the tensions entitled “The Peacemaker.”

The programme spoke with conflict resolution expert, Dr Dudley Weeks, who mediated between the gangs.

The mediation process successfully prevented the conflict from escalating and Aik Saath was formed to maintain lasting peace. 

Today Together As One provides a wealth of services from sports activities to cooking workshops.

It calls on young people in the process of conflict resolution, equipping them with the skills to go into schools and talk to their peers in a bid to de-escalate tensions and tackle anger.

On Friday, October 20, members of the community were joined by the Mayor of Slough, MP Tan Dhesi, The High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire at Copthorne Hotel to celebrate 25 years in the community.

An estimated 250 young people, parents, funders and representatives from partner organisations were in attendance.

Attendees were treated to performances from the charity’s spoken word project, Empoword, from poets Aditi and Desree; a song by one of the charity’s Alumna, Kuran Dohil; and dances from partners, Creative Academy.

A short film made specifically for the event was screened and featured the words of local leaders and national leaders from the field of community cohesion.

Ramesh Kukar, CEO of Slough Council for Voluntary Services said: “The charity is a bridge builder, bringing different communities together.

"The community harmony that they have achieved is quite phenomenal.”

Selmah Chaudhary, founding volunteer said: “In the 90s the conflict within our community was scary - even for adults.

"The project started with just three of us learning conflict resolution skills and sharing them with other young people.

"I think it's amazing. I'm proud of everybody that's a part of it. It's brilliant to see it develop the way it has.”

Kulbir Brar, Community and Diversity Officer, Thames Valley Police said: "The town would be a very different place without them in it."

At the ceremony Together As One, CEO, Rob Deeks, reflected on the challenges the organization faces and thanked everyone in attendance for their continued support.

He also discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most significant event since the organisation marked 20 years and praised the young volunteers who stepped up to run vaccination centres.

In total, the volunteers gave 1,666 hours of their time and also cooked for NHS staff.

Dr Madeleine Mosse Plan for Peace Together As One, Chair of Trustees, Jamie Hassan said: “Together As One has always stood out to me as being real leaders in the field of community cohesion.

"I don't know another organisation in the UK that is doing community cohesion work that is entirely youth-led."

Reflecting on the event Mr Deeks added: "It is a huge milestone for an organisation like ours. We have come so far from where we first began.

"We were overjoyed to see so many young people we have worked with down the years turn up.

"There was a really lovely atmosphere in the air - lots of people sharing loads of memories."