BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as Neasden Temple – received an award from the London Faith & Belief Community Awards in recognition of the Mandir’s nationwide care programme to support individuals and local communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The award was organised by The Faith & Belief Forum, an organisation that promotes good relations between people of different faiths and beliefs. The London Faith & Community Awards is a key initiative of the Forum that celebrates the vital work of local communities in making London a welcoming place for people of all faiths and beliefs.
The Covid-19 award category assessed organisations that “adapted their services and/or through swift innovation, created new projects with a focus on the common goal of assisting those affected by the pandemic”.
BAPS’s ‘Connect & Care’ programme was launched in March 2020 to help communities across London and the UK, especially the elderly and vulnerable, who were adversely affected by the pandemic.
The focus was to mitigate emotional and social isolation by “connecting” with them via telephone calls and then providing a custom “care” package which included freshly cooked meals, groceries and medications using a dedicated team of 1,100 volunteers. A series of health awareness videos in English and Gujarati as well as parenting toolkits were also created. This is in addition to the daily services, weekly assemblies and regular programmes webcast from neasdentemple.org
The award was presented during an interactive online ceremony that was attended by distinguished guests, including Sir Kenneth Olisa, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Reverend Richard Coles, Chancellor of the University of Northampton, and Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE DL, president of the Elizabeth R Commonwealth Broadcasting Fund and governor of the National Film and Television School.
Kirit Wadia, a lead BAPS volunteer in the UK, shared, “It is humbling to receive this award on behalf of the hundreds of tireless volunteers at Neasden Temple. We are inspired and energised by our spiritual leader, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who guided us to serve the people of this country and stand by them in this time of need. We will continue to support people of all faiths and beliefs who need our help during these challenging times.”
For various reports about the ongoing Covid-19 relief work by BAPS in the UK and Europe, please visit baps.org/covid19ukeurope