Bradford’s Sikh community delivers food to district’s most vulnerable


MEMBERS of Bradford’s Sikh community are going above and beyond the call of duty, by making special food deliveries to elderly, vulnerable and isolated people across the district, in the wake of the current crisis.

Members of Ramgarhia Gurdwara, on Bolton Road, are delivering ‘langar platters’ to those in need, and are also hosting a special ‘Sharing Langar’ launch event at the Gurdwara, on Wednesday 6 May.

At the launch, food will be prepared and discussions will be held on the importance of langar in bringing communities together, although, due to social distancing rules, only a limited number of people are allowed to attend.

The Sikh concept of ‘langar’ refers to a community kitchen in a Gurdwara, where free meals are given to visitors, irrespective of their race, religion, gender or socio-economic status.

Bradford’s Sikh community – which numbered just over 5,000 in the 2011 census – is carrying out the charitable work as part of the Volunteering Interfaith Programme (VIP), which is run by Strengthening Faith Institutions (SFI), in partnership with Age UK Bradford District.

The VIP sees faith leaders and members from different religious communities – across the Bradford district – come together, in the name of charity, supporting some of the area’s most vulnerable people, all while encouraging community cohesion and integration.

The VIP has recently seen members of Bradford’s Muslim community deliver special ‘Ramadan platters’ to vulnerable Muslims and non-Muslims alike, while England international cricketer and World Cup-winner, Bradford-born Adil Rashid, is also on board with the programme, and has helped to deliver food parcels to people across the district as part of it.

Gursharan Singh Sudle, member of Ramgarhia Gurdwara, said: “I am pleased to be involved with the VIP. Langar is the term used to describe the community kitchens that serve free vegetarian food, to all visitors, without distinction of religion, age, gender, economic status or ethnicity. 

“The practice of langar in Sikhism is something that has been ongoing, every single day, for over 700 years.

“Due to current lockdown we will be sharing langar with the wider community, particularly those in need, to promote sharing, equality and collaboration between communities.”

Javed Bashir, founder and Facilitator of the VIP, said: “It’s great to see that different faith communities are coming together to help and support those who need help during this pandemic and lockdown. 

“Not only do these acts make us compassionate human beings, but they also open up the lines of communication, appreciation and understanding between our different cultures and faiths – something so important in this day and age.

“I am pleased that the VIP has galvanised different faith communities to come together, and I am sure that this work will continue post COVID-19, in order to make Bradford a better place to live in.”

Mark Rounding, Chief Executive of Age UK Bradford District, said: “We are delighted that Ramgarhia Gurdwara will be part of this vital inter-faith initiative, working with communities from across Bradford to meet the challenges we are all facing in these unprecedented times.

“Day in, day out, we are working with isolated and lonely older people who are frightened, worried and anxious about their families, about their health needs and about day to day basics such as food and essential supplies.

“Age UK Bradford District is focussing on providing information, advice, well-being support and friendly phone chats, as well as delivering essential food and well-being packs, and this new partnership will enable us all to reach out to even more older people, who are some of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our communities.”

For more information, people can contact Javed Bashir on 07983411008.

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