This trail takes participants through a busy, vibrant part of Cambridge which is in strong contrast to its historic centre. Mill Road is a bustling street of independent shops, small cafes and restaurants and food shops serving people of many different cultural and religious backgrounds. It is also home to a number of places of worship and the social support activities inspired by particular beliefs.
Why do this trail?
The trail would be most suitable for pupils learning about ‘Religion in our Community’, which might be part of a general Humanities focussed unit of work on a local community.
This trail includes within a very short distance:
- Five different places of worship featuring three religions and three different traditions within Christianity;
- Examples of community outreach and support work e.g. the Salvation Army Community Centre and shop and Jimmy’s Night Shelter for homeless people at the Baptist Church;
- Shops and restaurants which cater for the needs of the Muslim community e.g. shops selling halal meat, advertisements for community events (e.g. Al Amin ethical neighbourhood store and post office, which has hosted visits by school groups)
There are also enterprises which work for the benefit of others but motivated by ideals not necessarily inspired by religious belief e.g. Amnesty shop, Oxfam shop, Arjuna whole food co-op.
Themes to explore:
- What creates a sense of community?
- How and why do people’s religious ideals inspire them to serve their communities? What kinds of help and support do they give to people in need?
- What do these places of worship offer to different members of the community e.g. young people? The elderly? The lonely? Those who are searching for answers about the meaning of life?
- What can you find out about the activities of the religious communities from their noticeboards?
- How have public or other buildings been converted to provide for the needs of local people? (e.g. library to Hindu temple, synagogue to warehouse to mosque, basement to shelter for homeless people)
- Is there a difference between a neighbourhood and a community?
If you just walked the trail without going into any of the stopping points, it would take about three quarters of an hour. The length of the visit will depend on how many of the places of worship or centres you included for a fuller exploration.
There is a park on the corner of Mill Road and East Road, next to the Zion Baptist Chapel. This would be fine for pupils to eat packed lunches in if weather was fine. There would be even more space on Parker’s Piece diagonally opposite but not all of this has a boundary fence so might pose a safety risk with younger children. Public toilets at the Bharat Bhavan end of Mill Road.
Another website which gives some feeling of what the neighbourhood is like and has interviews with people linked to the mosque, the Hindu temple and St Barnabas Church is www.untoldstories.org.uk/cambridgeuntold/index.html. There is also an interview with the owner of Al Amin, a global food store which caters for the Muslim community and tries to uphold ethical and fair trade principles e.g. by not selling tobacco, alcohol or lottery tickets.
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