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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Leading national Muslim charity launches pilot financial hardship project in Bradford

a pilot project is underway in Bradford, whereby Muslims in need can access support in their community.

The cost-of-living crisis has led to a huge growth in demand from Muslims in need across the UK.

Applications to the National Zakat Foundation’s Hardship Fund, for essentials like food and clothes, has soared by more than 90% year on year. With 50% of UK Muslims already in poverty, the increasing price of basic food, energy and housing is taking its toll.

To help reach more people in need NZF is seeking partners on the ground across the country to help distribute Zakat to more people and build stronger communities.

To this end, a pilot project is now underway in Bradford, whereby people in need can access support in their community. Muslims suffering from immediate financial hardship can come to their local community organisation and request help. The partner completes a short assessment of their situation and (where appropriate) approves a Zakat grant.

Sohail Hanif, CEO of NZF, said: “With so many people in need we have to ensure we reach out and offer support any way we can. Adding a face-to-face community element to the way we work will allow us to help our communities more than ever”.

With the support of Zakat givers in the UK, NZF has helped over 35,000 Muslims in the last decade, through a team of grant officers who work centrally to serve people across the UK.

The advantage of local distribution is that it builds local ties in a faith community, thereby strengthening the belonging people in that community feel to each other and to their faith. Furthermore, it allows and encourages people to access the wider support services of that community.

So, for example, coming to a mosque to receive money allows a person to also discover the wider services of the mosque, and hopefully start a faith-enriching journey. Finally, local distribution allows for a more dignified assessment of someone’s Zakat eligibility than the detailed review process that applicants experience when applying for help through online services.

Working alongside grassroots organisations who have a natural reach within their communities, NZF seeks to provide partners access to a supplementary service that enables them to offer financial help to Muslims quickly and with dignity.

The project hopes to expand to other grassroots organisations that have a strong track record of delivering services for their local Muslim communities. This includes mosques, madrasahs, community centres and food banks that have good reach into their communities.

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