Since the pandemic began earlier this year, it has been a tough time for many organisations, in particular Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association (PKWA) in Batley, have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic.
PKWA was established in 1990 with the aim of redressing the inequalities faced by the Pakistani & Kashmiri communities of north Kirklees in all areas of life. Our objectives are to work effectively with local partners to remove barriers to inclusion.
They tackle the exclusion faced by the wider South Asian community. They focus on sub-sections of the community who face additional barriers: mental health sufferers, carers, women, the elderly, disaffected young people, ex-offenders, etc.
Since lockdown restrictions came in, the organisation’s programme of support groups for mental health service users, carers, and the elderly have been unable to meet up.
Zoom meetings do not work well for people who do not have the latest smartphones or access to high speed broadband in their homes.
PKWA have not been idle to the current situations, the organisation’s treasurer, and keen volunteer, Mohammad Sadiq said, “We realised that just because restrictions on meeting have come in, people’s problems have not gone away, and for many people who were struggling before, the challenges that Covid brought has made their lives even more difficult.”
With the support of the One Community Foundation, PKWA revamped and updated its website to make it much more focused on dealing with the risks and fallout from Covid, and the organisation has started to develop strategies for taking its support services and campaigning work online via facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.
Sadiq said, “Our only option is to try and take something positive from this situation.”
“If our service users could not come to us, we had to go to them. We put together a package of support items, including masks, hand sanitiser, and information leaflets, and distributed them across the communities of North Kirklees – making sure to observe safety and social distancing rules!”
He said, “One very good thing that has come out of this, is that we are making contact with people from all backgrounds and communities, and have been able to explain that our centre is not just for Asian people, but for the whole community, and that we are here to assist anybody who needs help and support. In difficult times it is more important than ever that we all pull together.”
Sadiq added, “Since we started operating in 1990, we have faced many challenges, but nothing quite as alarming and worrying as this situation.
“Throughout all our challenges we have continued to find ways to contribute positively to the community, and I am confident that we will continue to do so.”
PKWA will be distributing more masks, PPE, and leaflet information, they will be updating their website and social media outlets, and hand out vitamin D tablets to help people to stay fit and healthy over the winter.
You can access their new website https://www.pkwacentre.org.uk/home