British Muslim Charities Help the Most Vulnerable During the Coronavirus Crisis30 Jul 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has been a shock for the whole of British society. Since March, our lives have been defined by lockdown conditions. Unsurprisingly, this has hit the most vulnerable families and individuals the hardest, many of whom have had to rely on charities and donations to get by.
At least 194 British Muslim charities have helped vulnerable communities
This week, the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) published its report, “The Neighbours Next Door” highlighting the work of British Muslim charities that have come to the aid of vulnerable communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has created a multi-layered crisis for the poorest in Britain, impacting everything from economy and healthcare to social life, psychology and education. MCF’s report identified at least 194 Muslim charities which attended to a whole array of needs.
Charities helped their local communities while working out of mosques and community centres. Most of the support went towards providing essential supplies and food for the vulnerable, which included the elderly, refugees, asylum seekers, single parents, the homeless, stranded domestic and international students, and the disabled.
This was followed by mental health support for those who felt lonely and separated during the lockdown. Other examples of assistance led by Muslim charities included, distributing hardship funds, supporting NHS staff and key workers, distributing PPE, burial and bereavement support, and improving digital accessibility.
Other examples of support included supporting victims of domestic abuse. The lockdown unfortunately left many people stuck with their abusers under conditions of increased stress. According to Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, there was a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in a single day. Human Appeal provided services to individuals impacted by domestic abuse, as well as providing food and supplies to shelters overstretched by the increased demands.
Other vital support included helping stranded international students who are estimated to number between 60,000 to 100,000 in the UK. Students, especially those who lost their jobs, were helped by the Birmingham-based Muslim Association of Britain Youth (MABY) who provided essential supplies, where needed, while hosting online befriending services and webinars to keep them engaged.
Despite praising the work done, MCF acknowledged that more could be done. In particular, it warned that there is greater need for collaboration between charities, donors and recipients, especially where funding or trust is in limited supply.