History of TAB

A brief timeline of how our Association has grown and evolved through the decades.

The seed was sown..

On a visit to Ariyalai, Sri Lanka in 1920, Mahathma Ghandi emphasised the importance of maintaining our culture and heritage. The Ariyalaians took heed of his words and to this day, celebrate the Tamil New Year with cultural shows, dramas and sports in which the whole community participates.

TAB is formed 

Tamil Association of Brent (TAB) was born with the similar aim: to maintain our culture and heritage and to bring together all Ariyalains living in the UK.

The founder, the Late Mr Kandiah Sothinathan, together with a handful of students formed the Tamil Association of Brent (TAB) in January 1979.

In 1980 the organisation registered with the Borough of Brent, London. The New Year Celebration in Ariyalai was replicated in London on the 12th April 1980,in Willesden, London. The Celebration was great success. On the same evening, a new committee for the organisation was elected democratically.

The association develops..

In 1982, TAB became affiliated to the Borough of Brent and changed its aim from serving Ariyalaians to serving all the Tamil speaking people in United Kingdom.

Following the influx of refugees after the race riots in Sri Lanka, TAB was involved in assisting them with the new way of life in the UK. The TAB’s membership increased with a greater need to maintain the Tamil heritage.

Sports in TAB 

Sport was identified as a productive way of occupying youngsters. The annual Sports Meet, which involved all age groups, started in 1980 on a small scale is now expanded into a major event. The cricket coaching was introduced in the early eighties and the first ever Tamil six-a-side cricket tournament was organised by TAB in 1984. This event has expanded to a sports day which includes football and netball tournaments. The Netball and football teams have since participated in many tournaments and won trophies.

A Tamil School is formed

 The importance of culture and heritage to the self identity of children born in the UK was recognised, thus the Tamil school was established in 1985. Initially, only Tamil was taught. The Carnatic Fine Arts subjects soon followed, culminating in cultural shows performed by the students of the school.

Science School is added

In the 1990s the Tamil school recognised the need to support the children with their core National Curriculum subjects and added a science section to the school. This science section was named as ‘The Institute of Science and Adult Education’, and has since incorporated an array of subjects including sewing and yoga.


 In 2000, TAB became a charitable organisation, served the entire community in Brent and the surrounding areas.

Fundraising efforts

TAB has remained an active fund-raising association, which raised funds for worthy causes such as Children in Need. Its efforts excelled in 2006, when the Tsunami hit the Asian coastal regions; we were able raise a substantial amount to help those in need in Sri Lanka. The Association continues to raise money to support nominated Charities.

TABs legacy continues..

Over the years, with the hard work of great many eminent people in the community, TAB continued to evolve and grow. We have just celebrated our 40th Annual New Year Programme in May 2019.

Today, TAB listens to its members and serves the larger community in Brent, Harrow and the surrounding areas.

A Tribute to our founder..

Mr Kandiah Sothinathan, a visionary, was born in 1942 in Ariyalai, Sri Lanka. He came to settle in the UK in 1972. The TAB was his brainchild and together with a handful of students he began work in January 1979 to establish it as an organisation run democratically, to bring together the Tamils in the UK. He worked tirelessly for TAB’s advancement and was involved in all the major developments until he passed away in 2012.


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