The Community Companions project was set up in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. As a Mosque and community centre located in a prime location in the centre of Hounslow, we quickly recognised how important it was for us to support this community in these testing times. We have had people tell us about their difficulty in being able to afford food and other essential supplies and how this has impacted detrimentally on their emotional and mental wellbeing. Particular groups of vulnerable people such as those that are from low income families, international students or those that are currently trying to settle their legal status have sought help from us.
We have set up the Community Companions project as a direct result of this demand from vulnerable members of the local community during these unprecedented times and we embrace this challenge to provide the support everyone needs.
Our main objective is to provide a service of support to all residents of all faiths and none, living in the London Borough of Hounslow that are facing particular difficulties as a direct result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, and also the impact of the economic decline of our community post Covid-19. We aim to do this by:
- Providing food and essential shopping packs for collection or delivery to vulnerable members of the community
- Handing out hot meals (Iftaars to end fasts – during the Month of Ramadan) and post Ramadan should we have suitable funding for this
- Picking up and delivering groceries, medicines and prescriptions
- Providing direction to the relevant health, medical and dental services available
We have so far helped over 300 people from all walks of life, we have provided hot meals to a NHS hospital and Care Homes. We have distributed food and essential food packs at the mosque as well as at people’s doorsteps.
Community Companions already has the volunteer structure in place to deliver this service and we will deliver this service in conjunction with Hounslow Council,and the support and advice of other local groups and agencies.
All new volunteers will be trained to promote fairness, respect, equality, dignity, autonomy to all. They will be all trained in recognising signs of neglect in children and vulnerable adults. All volunteers coming in direct contact with vulnerable groups will be DBS certified. And a whistle blowing policy will be in place with signposting to whom to approach to report any issues.
Community Companions volunteers have a wide range of language skills which are also found within the community, because all of our volunteers are from the community. For example Bengali, Urdu, Punjabi , Somalia, Arabic. Gujarati, Polish, French and Portuguese.
As an established mosque and community centre we fully understand the importance of confidentiality of the stakeholders and ensure the committee that we comply with GDPR.
Reaching out to the Community
We have been actively promoting our services through social media, leaflets and through community pages and the response has been overwhelming and a real eye-opener in understanding the various needs and difficulties that our local community members are facing on a daily basis.
Local councillors, charity organisations and support workers have been signposting the stakeholders to our services. We aim to continue this relationship with these organisations and forge new ones also.
We aim to audit the satisfaction of the services we provide to our stakeholders (via evaluation questionnaires in various languages) complying always to GDPR principles.
The Community Companions Project requires urgent funding to be able to continue to support the residents of Hounslow as the situation with COVID19 is still ongoing and we are seeing the number of people reaching out to us increase on a daily basis. Post Covid-19, and with the inevitable number of job losses expected we aim to increase our capacity.
At present we are providing and distributing :
- 400 Essential food packs costing £25 each, over the next 10 days
- 250 hot meals per day costing £3.50 each meal.
- We have the storage capacity, distribution capabilities, long term willingness of the volunteers and leaders to make this project work. We will ensure that any monies provided by yourselves will be 100 percent spent on the stakeholders. No monies will be used on salaries or administration.
Hadith (way of the Prophet)
“A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbour is hungry.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) – Muslim