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April 7, 2020

British Pakistanis join volunteering efforts against virus

Top Story

April 7, 2020

MANCHESTER: British Pakistani youths have teamed up with Conservative MP of Bury, James Daly, in delivering readymade food, masks and other essential equipment to NHS workers at Fairfield General Hospital (FGH) in Bury.

Over the past two weeks, Daly along with his team comprising Shahbaz Arif and Khalid Hussain has inspired a grassroots movement to try to help fill a gap in food and domestic supplies by bypassing traditional procurement protocols so as to get critical materials directly into the hands of those who need them most.

Employing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, text messages, and email, his determined team of volunteers have found creative ways to distribute supplies in Bury.As the toll from coronavirus pandemic continues to mount, the already thin stockpiles— ranging from toilet paper to face masks — have been stretched far thinner.

FGH happily accepted a van full of toilet paper and bottled water — donated by a local supermarket owner Farooq Khalid of Pakistani origin. Khalid said: “It is important for me to do something to help our NHS staff so that they can continue to effectively treat patients at Fairfield General Hospital.”

Besides, ready to cook meals have also been prepared and distributed by Muslim Friends of Britain (MfB) to NHS staff at FGH. Local shopkeepers — Shah and Mahmood — have donated food supplies earmarked for local care homes, to Bury Council’s Community Hub at Castle Leisure Centre.

Bury-based charity “Supporting Sisters (SS)” have teamed up with their MP to sew face masks and deliver them to frontline and key workers for free.

Sameah from Supporting Sisters told The News: “We felt we had to do something when our MP appealed for face masks. We managed to form a network of Christian and Muslim ladies in Bury to sew hundreds of face masks as per WHO standards”.

MP Daly said: “The idea is to take rapid action where we can get all those supplies and face masks safely in the places where they’re most needed. I am amazed at the generosity of kind hearted people in my constituency. I want to encourage everyone to do their bit in helping the NHS and our frontline workers. Together, we will overcome this pandemic.”

Shahbaz Arif said: “I am delighted so many young people are offering to join our volunteer force, if someone wants to join as volunteer they can contact us through social media.”

The coronavirus pandemic is causing massive social upheaval with school closures, health scares, and widespread lockdowns. But in the face of the real threat of system breakdown, communities across Britain are banding together, stepping up to volunteer, organise and strategise how to immediately help those who need it most.