Three community organisations in Bradford have launched a new befriending service to support people from ethnic minority backgrounds suffering from isolation as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The QED Foundation, The Girlington Centre and the Sangat Community Association will work together to contact people who have been isolated across Bradford.

375 people will receive 10 phone calls over a six-month period and also have face to face contact through social media and networking opportunities with other people. When social distancing restrictions are lifted, plans are in place to provide education and community services for users

Health and wellbeing packs will also be distributed by the three organisations and they will provide access to online activities like yoga and communication classes.

Befrienders, who make the phone calls, run courses and contact users, have experience in counselling and can speak a range of languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi and Gujerat to support a diverse range of users.

Prior to lockdown, the QED Foundation were supporting new arrivals to the UK and those from a range of ethnic minority backgrounds to learn new skills and to help users find work while The Grilington Centre and Sangat Community Association supported residents with advice, education, resources and information on immigration issues.

The combined work of the three organisations, in addition to financial support from The Coronavirus Community Support Fund, has supported the launch of the befriending service in Bradford.

Chief Executive of the QED Foundation, Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, said: “Many of our students do not have wide social networks and would find it difficult to access information about Covid-19 through the internet or the media”

“We decided the best way to help them through the crisis was to offer a telephone befriending service and we were delighted when the National Lottery supported us to work in partnership with the Girlington Centre and Sangat Community Association in Keighley to provide this.

“Now we can reach out to some of the most vulnerable ethnic minority groups, reducing their fear and anxiety and helping them to understand national guidance and look after the health and wellbeing of their families.”

More information on the befriending service can be found here: https://www.qed-uk.org/pages/82-covid-befriending

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