Letter writing, Ramadan, Cats Protection, Islamophobia and Covid

Schools in Newham, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham are involved in a charity initiative which see

Schools in Newham, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham are involved in a charity initiative which sees pupils write to elderly care home residents - Credit: Supporting Humanity

Benefits of letter writing scheme

Dr Leonard Restall, New Zealand, formerly from Barking, writes: 

The wonderful project for children to be encouraged to write to elderly people is the idea of Idris Patel, founder of such a fantastic project.

This scheme is being taken up by pupils at Redbridge, Newham and Barking and Dagenham schools. 
It is named Love Through a Letterbox for it has within it the essence to lessen the loneliness that the elderly may be suffering from, and to let them know they are not forgotten.

What a wonderful idea!

Such a scheme not only has benefits for the receivers of the letters, the elderly in care homes, but is valuable for the young writers.

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They will improve their communication skills, choice of words and ways to express their feelings and emotions, which seldom get the chance or need when using computers or such tools. 

But by putting their thoughts down on paper, the young writers are using their minds to communicate feelings and thoughts that may delight their elderly readers.

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The writing may open up new vistas and creative opportunities for youngsters to develop their communication skills.

The joy that comes from writing and expressing an opinion for others will be of encouragement to keep writing. This has been the experience of this regular writer of opinions for the Post. Now in his ninth year of writing. It is personally stimulating and intended to be useful or interesting without it being highly critical. 

Comments coming from teachers are very helpful and show that even they can be touched by the feelings expressed by young children to the elderly.

One letter was so expressive of feeling that it almost made a teacher cry. 

Pupils giving such help to the elderly will find their writing skills will have improved, which will give them greater confidence for other school work.

Ramadan advice

Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK, writes:

We would like to offer people in the Muslim community who live with diabetes help and advice to stay healthy during Ramadan – especially in the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. 

We know the Qur’an requires Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset.
There are exceptions and people who are unwell or have medical conditions are not required to fast – and this includes people with diabetes.

Some people with diabetes may still choose to fast. Those who choose to fast are advised to include more slowly absorbed foods (low GI), such as basmati rice and dhal, along with fruit and vegetables in their meal at the end of each day’s fast.

People should also check their blood sugar levels more often than usual.

It’s also worth noting that if you are observing Ramadan and have decided to fast, receiving the coronavirus vaccine does not break your fast.

So please get the vaccine if you are invited to book an appointment. 

We advise people that if they are unwell or have any symptoms of Covid-19, they should not fast and call 111 for further advice.

Rising to every challenge

The Cat Protection League are asking cat owners to keep unneutered cats indoors

Cat Protection have rehoused 20,000 cats through their Hands Free Homing scheme - Credit: PA

James Yeates, CEO, Cats Protection, writes:

At Cats Protection we have much to be grateful for. This year has challenged us like never before but we have come through with greater focus and a renewed commitment to improving the welfare of cats and supporting better cat ownership.

As we mark the anniversary of the first lockdown measures, we want to learn from our shared successes and experiences and acknowledge what we have achieved together.

One year ago we launched Hands-Free Homing, a pioneering online adoption process that has become the new normal. Prospective owners pick a pet from our website and, after a chat with our adoption team, the cat is delivered to its new home. 

This programme has been a triumph, allowing us to successfully match more than 20,000 cats with their forever homes to provide much-needed companionship.

Additionally, the number of cats returned by their new owner has gone down by a third.

We do not underestimate this incredible achievement and the dedication of everyone involved in helping us reach this milestone.

It is just one example of how our team of colleagues, volunteers and supporters have risen to every challenge and proven how we can progress by embracing change.

Thanks to their hard work, cats in need continue to receive our support, even in these most trying times.

I would like to thank everyone at Cats Protection who has contributed to our response to extraordinary circumstances and who continues to be part of our outstanding team.

Workplace Islamophobia

Cllr Khaled Noor, chair, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF), writes:

The MPF is pleased by some of the evidence the commission has collected in the report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities in the UK – for example, the data showing that young BAME people are, on average, doing well at school.

But we are very concerned that they have not given due weight to the incidents of racism – and Islamophobia – which minority groups experience on an everyday basis.

The MPF has recently started working with partners in the legal profession on identifying Islamophobia in the legal profession and judicial system.

It is important that the commission’s report does not dampen the enthusiasm to do this kind of work.

Muslim professionals can do a great deal to ensure that young Muslim professionals are supported in the workplace and that management practices do not discriminate against BAME and/or Muslim staff.

We would be pleased to hear from and to assist anyone who has concerns about Islamophobia in the workplace.

Ensuring the next step is forwards

Professor Kevin Fenton, London regional director, Public Health England, writes:

This week we have had the chance to see family and friends again outdoors in a group of six or two households.

The careful lifting of these restrictions has been possible thanks to the efforts of all Londoners in sticking to the rules up to now, helping bring infection rates down across the capital.

But although we have made significant progress, the pandemic is far from over and the situation remains delicate.

The return to normal life needs to be taken step by step and we can only move to the next stage if we make a success of the last.

It therefore remains vital we do not get complacent and continue limiting transmission. That means sticking to the rule of six and avoiding the temptation to meet others in larger groups or indoor settings, as well as remembering the basics of hands, face, space and fresh air.

We are on the right track for a return to normality but we must all help ensure the next step we take is forwards, not back.

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