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1.Swindon Goans impact on the local Church. Evening Advertiser. 6 June 2002.
2. The town of Swindon has a typically Goan ambience. By Augusto Rodrigues. Goa Today Feb. 2003
3. Legendary generosity of Swindon Goans. By Angelo De Mello, Goan Voice UK Newsletter 2003-28, 11 July 2003.
4.Queuing up for a new life. Evening Advertiser. 15 July 2003.
5. Vandals in wrecking spree Evening Advertiser, 21 Sept. 2004.
6. Large numbers expected for mass at Christmas. Swindon Advertiser 21 Dec. 2007
7. Residents get ratty over rubbish collection. Swindon Advertiser. 29 Dec. 2007.
8. Holy Rood Junior School has 85 Goan students. Swindon Advertiser. 8 Jan 2008.

Excerpts from Evening Advertiser
Friday 6 June, 2002.

Attendances at Catholic services in Holy Rood Church have more or less stayed constant in the past few years, thanks to new recruits from far-flung lands, such as Goa in southern India.

"We have quite a big immigrant community coming into the town from Goa, and that must have swelled our congregation by 200-odd," Monsignor Twomey says.

"They work mainly in service industries, and are a very hard working and a very spiritual people.

"They have brought a lovely new dimension to the congregation."

For full text see:

The town of Swindon has a typically Goan ambience.
By Augusto Rodrigues
February 2003

Normally in summer the country-side would have looked awesome. Not this wintry day anyway. Trees bereft of leaves and snow-capped fields arouse the gloom in one. It makes the journey from London to Swindon look like a never-ending one. As the coach enters the wet town of Swindon, flashes of Goa stream across the mind.

No. Not the houses. Nor any panoramic view. It's the people. For Swindon is one council in England vastly populated by Goans. A mini Siridao. A mini Goa Velha. There are hundreds of them.

Manchester Street is one such abode. Most of the houses in this and the adjoining streets are inhabited by Goans and very much like in Goa, you can see them hanging in the wine shops stocking themselves up to beat the cold.

Why, may you ask, Swindon? This place is one of those industrial hubs out of London. Here a lot of packaging units have been set up. Obviously, you do not need to know much of English to pack. So, the employment agencies are making a killing whilst our folks make it through hours of standing in cold storage units packing chickens, sandwiches, spare parts and even toys marked "Made in China", All slogging it out to send back the Quids to dear home.

Just like back home, here too the word spreads quickly. Perhaps because of the homogeneity of the place, even quicker. As must be happening everywhere, there are those who know you but pretend they didn't see you, and there are those, who hardly know you but behave as though you were a long lost friend. Eureka! This is one of the syntheses of economic migration.

All work and no play. Not really. Not so long ago the place was abuzz about an incident that gave many a lot to talk about. The story goes that a lad picked up a hooker for twenty Quids. It so happened that apart from the lad, there lay in store six others to share the spoils. All for the same promissory twenty Quids. Not to be taken advantage of, the hooker returned with some other guys and what ensured I leave up to your imagination. Nevertheless, it was enough fodder for a long, long while.

Going out to the pubs is one of the most favourite pastimes over the weekend, in winter at least. You cannot play football at this time of the year. That's not a sport for us now. The young and the over-fifties, you find them all dancing to the tune of hip hop and garage music. Pubbing after having guzzled the booze at home is a sort of a craze out here. And emptying others glasses (read English) whilst they are dancing is a challenge for some. Fortunately, rarely do they get caught in such acts. To add to the attraction are also the many lonely middle-aged English women who converge to such places. So far away from home, age really does not seem to matter. It's just the feeling.

The smell that emanates from the houses in Swindon is another indicator of finding fellow Goan out here. Fish curry rice is the main diet while sorpotel, vindalo and other delicacies are reserved for the weekends. Don't ask me from where the spices originate, but one things is certain, the meals are the closest one can get to being home. Dinner is generally a bumper meal with most of the folks going out to work early in the morning and returning only in the evenings.

Accommodation in Swindon is drawn on the lines of the "kudd" system in Dhobitalao, Mumbai. One person rents the house and then fills it up. At some places it's two in a room, in some others three and the shrewder pack in even four. Roughly around eight to ten people share a three-bedroom house with just one toilet. How true, whoever it was who said, "birds of the same feather, flock together".

London paints a different picture. Nothing really upbeat about the people out there. It has more of the nouveau riche nonsense. It is in this cosmopolitan city that the clichés "African Goans" and "Portuguese Goans" have come into vogue. By definition, an "African Goan" is one who has been there for a long time, expectedly since the time the British parted ways with their colonies in Africa. The "Portuguese Goans", on the other hand, are viewed as those who have come to England in the recent years after having opted for the Portuguese nationality. Even though there rarely are open bickerings -they happen usually after a couple of beers- about such connotations, an underlying current does exist. SssssssssssssH! Looks like most tugged along with their crabs.

As far as life is concerned, there appears to be no apparent reason why those living in London should be on a higher podium than those living in the countryside. No doubt, London is London .It's there for its vivacity, for all its splendour. Yet, it's what one can make of oneself and in that London plays no role. Certainly, the wages are higher in London, the pubs are better, the cultural life is better and the cost of living is much higher. But in any place in the United Kingdom, a Goan will always be a Goan, no matter however much one may try to shrug that notion off ones shoulder. That's because pretences do not work. It can at the most help shade ones emotions. Emotions of emptiness, emotions of having to rough it out just to be able to show off back home in Goa. For pounds can deceive in other places not in England. There is a Japanese saying, "when the sun shines, the grass is green". Sadly here, the sun rarely shines. And when it does, one sees envy.

Legendary generosity of Swindon Goans
From Agnelo De Mello (Swindon). Fr Adrian Furtado of St Lawrence Church, Agacaim, made an appeal to the Goans in Swindon to raise funds for the Church and School repairs. A get-together was organised on 28th June which was attended by over 300 people. The generosity of the Swindon Goans will become legendary as the organisers have confirmed that as at 1 July 2003 the total collected was £ 19,800 (over 14 lakhs) and donations still continue to pour in. For further info contact

Queueing up for a new life
Tuesday 15 July 2003.

Queues of immigrant workers outside employment agencies have grown in recently. That's because foreign workers are stepping in to fill gaps in the labour market especially people from the Indian holiday destination of Goa. Bhavani Vadde spoke to three of them who have swapped more tropical climes for Swindon.

A TWIST in colonial history has meant that the Goan community in Swindon has burgeoned in the last three or four years.

Unlike the rest of India, Goa was a Portuguese colony for 500 years and remained so until 1961 ­ even though the rest of the country gained independence from British rule in 1947.

Goans still have a right to Portuguese nationality which enables them to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

And there are a number of reasons why they choose to come to Britain instead of Portugal and Swindon in particular.

Firstly, the younger generation of Goans can't speak Portuguese but are fluent in English. That's because Goan schools switched to teaching English as a second language instead of Portuguese after the state was liberated.

Secondly, employment agencies in the town say Goans are willing to undertake low skilled and often lower paid work that many local people are unwilling to do.

Four years ago there were around 50 people from India's richest state in the town and that has now grown to around 1,000. They work directly and through agencies for a variety if companies in and around Swindon including Honda, WH Smith, Swindon Distribution Centre, Faccenda in Sutton Benger and Uniq Prepared Foods in Devizes, as well as in banks and as teachers.

Santana Souza, 43, president of the Goan Association, came to Swindon four years ago after initially working in London. He now works for Swindon Pressings.

He said: "When people heard there were plenty of job opportunities, the Goan population here started to grow.

"When you come straight from India then you have to go somewhere where you know somebody so you feel safe.

"People have also been joined by their families so that is another reason why it has grown.

"But I think the majority will go back to Goa."

Mr Souza lives with his wife Cimilda, 35, and his five year-old twins Spirlea and Shannon who attend Drove Primary School.

Tomas Cardoso, 57, the association's secretary, also works for Swindon Press-ings.

He said: "I am employed by an agency so I am not on a fixed contract. There is once or twice a year when there is no work and I get a break.

"We can go anywhere in Europe and there are people in France and other countries but they do jobs where they don't need the language.

"And work here is better paid than in Portugal and in India." The association's treasurer Jose Fernandes, 34, is Mr Souza's cousin. He was an accounts auditor but now takes on work as a packer in a warehouse.

He said: "When I first came, I tried getting a position in accounts but I didn't have much luck.

"I am planning to do a college course and after that I might find a position in accounts."

The Goan Association provides a support for newcomers and organises social events such as dances and sports activities.

The official language of Goa is konkani and once a month a konkani mass is held at the Holy Rood Church and 300 people attend regularly

Jaginder Bassi, from the Race equality Council, said: "This is not a new situation in respect to migration patterns. Wherever there are labour shortages then immigrants from other parts of the world have always plugged the gap.

"These days there are strict quotas for the number of people who can come here on work permits. It is much more regulated than it used to be unless it is for a category where we have a shortage such as nurses, doctors or teachers.

"But the Goan population in Swindon are EU citizens exercising their right to free movement.

"There is a shortage of labour in Swindon and they are coming to do low skilled and low paid jobs."

A number of employment agencies based in Commercial Road recruit overseas workers.

The agencies often provide transport for the workers, which is why they are seen daily queuing outside the premises.

Mike Little, director of Storm Recruitment, said that his company provides workers for Faccenda, a company supplying poultry to major supermarkets.

And Storm has also recently won a three-year contract to supply around 100 workers a day to pack sandwiches at Uniq Prepared Foods in Devizes.

He said: "These companies are doing well so we are doing well. Word spreads and often overseas workers will do work the young Europeans won't

"It's to do with culture. If you ask an 18-year-old European to stand at a line all day they wouldn't do it.

"It is boring repetitive work but the Goans have a different work ethic, they will do this sort of work."

As well as Goans, the agency also employs Malaysian, Italians, Spanish and Brazilians who all have the right documents or the right to work here.

Duncan Elliott, training and development manage,r said: "The reason why there are queues outside is because Swindon is a booming town and we have some quite big clients.

"We do not ask people where they are from, as long as they are entitled to work here and have the right skills and experience to fit the work."

Vandals in wrecking spree
Tuesday 21 September 2004
by Ben Payne

BOSSES at a Swindon coach company are offering a cash reward to anyone who helps nail the thugs responsible for a £15,000 wrecking spree.

Staff at Phoenix Coaches were left reeling after vandals used a pickaxe and hammers to smash all the windows on three of their five vehicles in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Paul Ratcliffe, manager of the Marshgate Trading Estate-based company which has been operating for three years, is offering a £2,000 reward for information leading to conviction.

"We are devastated ­ we needed this like a hole in the head," said Mr Ratcliffe. "Everyone is completely gutted.

"As well as the damage we've lost more than £5,000 in business today and we're offering the award to try and stop this from happening again."

The 43-year-old believes there could have been a racial motive for the attack, which happened between 11pm and 3am, as the buses targeted are used to take ethnic minorities to work.

Earlier this year rocks were thrown at a coach carrying Goan workers from Faccenda chicken factory in Sutton Benger near Chippen-ham.

Until a security guard is appointed Mr Ratcliffe, 43, will camp out in the offices to stop further attacks.

"I will camp out until we can employ a night watchman, which will probably cost another £10,000 a year," he said.

The drivers of the private hire company's two remaining coaches, which were parked elsewhere, were stretched to the limit yesterday morning as they struggled to cope with the workload.

And it could take as long a week until the wrecked vehicles are back on the road, costing the company a further £10,000 in lost income.

"They are out of service until they are sorted," said Mr Ratcliffe.

"The windows, some of which are as big as five foot by four foot, all need replacing and not one company is going to have all the glass we need.

"The coaches also need to be cleaned inside which will take a lot of time.

"Everyone feels devastated, including our customers and passengers who are always grateful about the work we do."

Managing director Wayne Musella said: "It's not pleasant when things like this happen but you just have to live with it."

A police spokesman said any cash rewards have to be made independently.

"It is up to them," she said. "If anybody makes an offer then they have to do it independently as we cannot be seen to endorse it."

Anyone with information can phone Swindon Police on 01793 528111 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

For additional information on Faccenda see:

Large numbers expected for Mass at Christmas

21 Dec. 2007. Swindon Advertiser. Excerpts: Mass congregation numbers are expected to surge in Swindon at Christmas due to the influx of immigrants. Catholics from Poland and Goa are boosting the numbers attending mass with Holy Rood Church, in Groundwell Road, expecting about 4,500 through the doors during the festive period.
There used to be about 2,000 people at Holy Rood on a Sunday, according to Monsignor Richard Twomey. But the arrival of Goans and other nationalities has increased the congregations. Monsignor Twomey said 8,000 to 9,000 people have arrived in Swindon from Goa … Holy Rood Infants, Holy Rood Juniors and St Joseph's are all struggling to meet demand according to the church. 381 words. For full text see click here.


Residents get ratty over rubbish collection

Click to enlarge
29 Dec. 2007: Swindon Advertiser. Swindon residents say the streets have been infested by rats since the council substituted the weekly refuse collection to fortnightly "We have a large Goan population around here with big families all living in one house - as is their culture. They create more than one wheelie bin full of rubbish in a week For photo and text 370 words click here.


Swindon: Holy Rood Junior School has 85 Goan students

8 Jan. 2008: Swindon Advertiser. Holy Rood Junior School is today celebrating 40 years at its Upham Road base. The Catholic school first opened in 1899 on Groundwell Road but was found to be too small It has a wide mix of children from all over the world. To reflect that, the school has teaching assistants who are Goan, Italian and Polish and also has six Polish students and 85 Goan students For text click here.

and funded by donations from the world-wide Goan Community.