Community togetherness can overcome COVID-19


London: British Pakistani Christian Association is collaborating with Chigwell Row Residents Association and Reverend Paula Preston of All Saints Church, Romford Road, Chigwell on a number of projects to help retain community identity and provide support whatever COVID-19 measures are introduced.

The outer wall of All Saints Church has already been decorated with a number of prayers for the 'Chigwell Row community, written by the congregation of the church. Reverend Paula will today be adding further cloths pinned by a ribbon and is inviting people from the community to add their messages and prayers to the church wall for the duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that the wall will become a place for the community to share messages of solidarity, share condolences if required, to update people on local matters and much more. We hope it will continue to sustain a sense of community, once action against COVID-19 reach their peak.

Local residents are being encouraged to bring along sharpies and add messages to the empty cloths hanging from a community ribbon on the church wall, or to attach messages via other means that does not damage church property.

Reverend Paula, said: "Chigwell Row continues to be a caring neighbourhood.

"If you would like to contact me for support or to ask me to pray about anything connected with Covid-19, or any other matter, please do get in touch.

All Saints Church will remain open until told to shut by the Government, after which an emergency plan will be put in place that will include: on-line services, connection by telephone and written sermons posted to those who want them.

All Saints church will also be partnering with Chigwell Row Residents Association and British Pakistani Christian Association on a telephone support group for +70 year olds who have chosen to go into self-isolation. Volunteers associated with both groups will be DBS checked and reference checked as part of each groups safeguarding process. The type of services people can expect will include; shopping errands, posting, walking dogs, telephone support and counselling and any other non-contact support. Our services will be open to people in Ilford around the Clementswood and Loxford Ward, which is near our community centre and to people in Chigwell Row. If we are able to recruit volunteers in other parts of Redbridge or Chigwell we will expand our operation. We have already made contact with other churches in Ilford.

Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee of the BACA, said: "Whatever happens in the next few months, we must try and remember those around us.

"There are many who will be vulnerable and with a little help we can make a big difference.

"Self-isolation is a necessary drastic measure and the prayer wall provides a chance for us to keep a sense of community through our personal struggles - so please do use it.

"The large number of volunteers we have been able to amass to support those most in need is remarkable.

"We give thanks to all those who have chosen to help."

British Pakistani Christian Association will maintain a daytime call centre number (9am - 5pm - seven days a week) and people seeking assistance should call, 020 8500 1192.Please leave a message if the phone is busy and a response will be returned within an hour. You can text or whats app message to 07854972343 (24 hours a day).

A local newsletter informing people of this service will be distributed within our three target wards.

We will be required to buy disposable gloves, hand sanitizer for the homeless and our volunteers and would like to be able to offer some help with fuel costs for our volunteers.

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