Help of Hindu temples during COVID honoured in report

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

The role of Hindu mandirs (temples) during COVID has been recognised by Slough community groups and the NHS following a new report.

In the report, called ‘The Role of Hindu Mandirs during the COVID pandemic in the UK 2020-21’, 40 Hindu mandirs across the UK contributed information about their COVID response activities.

Throughout COVID restrictions, mandirs provided hot food to frontline hospital staff, replenished foodbanks, provided food parcels to the vulnerable, delivered prescriptions to those isolating, and later alleviated mental health issues using online technology.

The report was launched in Slough Hindu Mandir on Thursday, July 14 in the presence of the Mayor of Slough, Cllr Dilbagh Parmar, alongside representatives of Slough community groups and those from Wexham Park Hospital and its trust (Frimley Health).

Hasmukh Shah, trustee of World Council of Hindus UK, officially launched the report – with a background explanation from Bharat Mistry, national coordinator of Hindu Mandir Network.

Jeetesh Bhardwa, consultant urologist at Wexham Park hospital, was on the frontline looking after COVID patients from the beginning of the pandemic.

“We in the NHS are used to dealing with crisis, however COVID was a tsunami of a crisis – we were scared, it was very difficult, and there were lots of issues,” he said at the launch.

“We had no time to go out and get a meal or to relax. In our team no one took time off, no one called in sick, but just cared for the patients.

“Your free meals at the end of the shift helped us tremendously and kept us going, thinking that someone out there cares for us.”

Lorraine Clayton, hospital engagement manager for Frimley Health Charity, said she was ‘in awe’ of the mandirs’ work.

“We have 12,000 staff and every one of them would clap for you if they were here,” she said.

Sewa Day charity also thanked the mandirs that helped provide it with
facilities for sewa activities, while One Slough (an organisation of 55 community groups) also gave its thanks and recognition.

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