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There With You: Barking Mosque a real pillar of the community during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:35 06 April 2020

A volunteer from Barking mosque loading food into the boot of a car for delivery to homes in the local area. Picture: Ash Siddique

A volunteer from Barking mosque loading food into the boot of a car for delivery to homes in the local area. Picture: Ash Siddique

Archant

The coronavirus outbreak has strengthened community spirit, as people and organisations rally around society’s most vulnerable.

A crate of food left outside by a volunteer from Barking mosque. Picture: Ash SiddiqueA crate of food left outside by a volunteer from Barking mosque. Picture: Ash Siddique

Despite this being a time of fear and worry, Ash Siddique from Barking Mosque says people are really showing their “humanity”.

Ash – a trustee of the mosque for 25 years – is now part of a volunteering network that is helping hundreds of people in 
the area.

As one of the faith groups working on the BD Can initiative with Barking and Dagenham Council, mosque secretary Ash believes that “local authorities are starting to really see the power of voluntary organisations who work quietly in the community”.

So far their work with BD Can has led to 97 case referrals across the Abbey, Gascoigne and Longbridge wards.

Crates of food delivered by Barking mosque to 200 homes in the community. Picture: Ash SiddiqueCrates of food delivered by Barking mosque to 200 homes in the community. Picture: Ash Siddique

The mosque has been an ever-present since 1986, with its work never more valuable.

It has expanded services and introduced new ones to help the area survive this crisis.

For a number of years the mosque has run a monthly counselling service and bereavement support group.

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The frequency of this has since increased to a weekly service as the tragedy of the pandemic takes hold.

Ash adds that it is also starting to see the benefits of an 18-month-old parenting programme, with parents and children now both seeking advice from the mosque on how to manage living in such close quarters.

A new service involves reaching the elderly in the community, 
with whom Ash says the mosque has always had a “strong relationship.

“Our volunteers are calling the elderly or going to their homes to talk to them from a safe distance. We want them to stay connected – so far we have helped between 45-50 people.”

There With You - the Barking and Dagenham Post's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.There With You - the Barking and Dagenham Post's campaign to help everyone get through coronavirus crisis.

Members are also delivering food to these people, alongside other vulnerable groups.

“Two days ago, we met up with an organisation who had a healthy supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. We delivered it to over 200 homes.”

Ash is dedicated to continuing the hard work, and is proud of the fact that Barking Mosque does not discriminate with respect to whom it helps.

“This is everyone’s fight,” he says.

Visit barkingmosque.org.uk or call 020 8478 8526.


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