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Sandwell Council acknowledges faith communities’ work during pandemic to launch Faith Sector Network | Sandwell Council

Sandwell Council acknowledges faith communities’ work during pandemic to launch Faith Sector Network

Published 24th March 2022

Faith event
(Dr Lisa McNally, Kuldeep Singh Deol, Nick Ross, Ragih Muflihi, Cllr Richard Jones)

Sandwell Council has marked two years since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, by expressing its profound thanks and gratitude to the whole of our faith communities in Sandwell.

The council held an event on Thursday 24 March from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at Holy Trinity Church, Church Hill Street, Smethwick to launch the Sandwell Faith Sector Network and to thank the faith sector for their fantastic support during the pandemic..

The pandemic has been difficult and demanding for all – both professionally and personally. The commitment to supporting your communities and the skilful way in which you have endorsed Public Health messages in a rapidly changing environment amid considerable uncertainty has saved countless lives.

Faith communities’ work during the pandemic has shone a light on the great work they do but also highlights the need to continue to engage local faith communities in all Sandwell Council’s public health work. This event was a chance to launch the Sandwell Faith Sector Network which will continue to work with the sector in all kind of issues which existed before the pandemic and will continue after, some exacerbated by the pandemic.

In their recent Peer Challenge, the Local Government Association commended Sandwell’s COVID-19 response, including its “Pioneering local contact tracing” and their care home outbreak response which was acclaimed by the Royal College of Nursing in their national awards.  They also highlighted the Council’s success in the national LGC Public Health Award in 2021.  None of this would have been possible without the collaboration and support of Sandwell’s local faith groups.

Sandwell Public Health issued certificates to all faith organisations that have supported our efforts to keep our community safe. Public Health with other parts of the council will continue to support the development and representation of faith communities in all our work.

Councillor Suzanne Hartwell, cabinet member for adults, social care and health said:

“The knowledge, local insight, compassion and leadership of our faith communities have been outstanding during this pandemic. We are immensely proud of them and want to continue to work closely with them to tackle social, health and inequality issues that face many parts of our community.”

Vice President of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick, Kuldeep Singh Deol said:

It’s been a pleasure working with everyone – working with public health and all the faith groups. It’s so important that we work together otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to get to this point. We need to hear all the different points of view. The faith sector has been fundamental in reaching the vulnerable members of our community and once lockdown lifted supporting with testing and vaccine clinics. The message today has been “Together for hope”. Together we can work for our community."