We are encouraging all faith-based projects across Walsall to share with us what they are doing in response to the COVID-19 situation.
In these uncertain and difficult times, many community and faith organisations are managing how to respond and developing different channels to engage with residents. Social distancing in line with government guidance is also being taken seriously in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Places of worship have closed their doors to the public until further notice. However, many of them are already making a difference to the most vulnerable communities and using alternative ways of getting their messages across.
Willenhall Gurdwara is offering food deliveries and people can contact the Gurdwara to request this service. Gurdwaras have closed their doors to the public, the priest alone will run opening and closing prayers and the reading of Holy Scriptures. In addition, the free kitchen service is also closed replaced by the offer of food deliveries.
The Midland Langar Seva Society is also supporting any individuals aged 65 and over or who may be vulnerable, as well as working to support community needs and requesting donations to deliver vital services.
Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre have set up a community response team, with volunteers ready to help the elderly and vulnerable with shopping and collecting food or essentials, picking up medication, friendly phone calls and posting mail. They are working in collaboration with St Gabriel's Church, Fullbrook, Union of Muslim Organisations (UMO), iCare and UK Islamic Mission.
St. Matthew’s Church in Walsall is using technology to reach out to their community. Recently, they have produced video services and encouraged church leaders and members to share short videos on topics related to the Christian faith.
Rev. Jim Trood, who is the priest at the church, made a “Coronavirus Keep Fit” video based on Rend Collective’s song “My Lighthouse” as a way of engaging with individuals and families. It is hoped more keep fit videos will be released soon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsZCMgC6qEc
In addition, one couple (Kirsten and Richard Groom) made the decision to bring forward their wedding at the church by one month on Saturday 21 March. As there were new measures on social distancing, the wedding was streamed to over 100 guests through Facebook. This story appeared on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-52028188
Note: The wedding took place before the Prime Minister’s statement on 24 March with the ‘Stay at Home’ guidance.
A volunteer action group has been put into place by Shree Ram Mandir (Hindu Forum). They are helping people who are self-isolating or are vulnerable and have sent out flyers across the community. They also have the Sewa Day Network, where a group goes out helping with running errands for people.
We would love to hear more from faith-based and other local organisations across Walsall responding to the health situation and supporting communities at this time. To share your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org