East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre strives to build community links with local hospices

The Chief Imam of the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre made a historic visit to East London’s adult and children’s hospices, becoming a patron of Richard House Children’s Hospice, on 7th July 2010.

Sheikh Abdul Qayum began the afternoon with a visit to St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney before moving on to Richard House Children’s Hospice in Beckton.

The trip was the first by an imam from the East London Mosque and was part of a longer-term project to improve links between the three organisations.

Sheikh Abdul Qayum said: “There’s no word for hospice in Arabic and today I learnt a lot about what hospice care really means.

“The Islamic faith is about offering care and support to families – and that’s the same ethos of the hospices I visited today.

“A hospice is about delivering care and support to the people and the families that really need it. Both hospices are happy environments that offer so much to all members of the diverse community we live in. And that’s one of the many reasons why I am delighted to become a patron of Richard House and to work with St Joseph’s.

“I will be taking that message back to the East London Mosque and will be delivering a ‘khutbah’ [Islamic sermon] about making people more aware about palliative care and the wonderful services both Richard House and St Joseph’s offer.”

Peter Ellis, the chief executive of Richard House, said: “It is a real honour that the Imam has agreed to become a patron of Richard House.

“We are proud of our culturally-diverse neighbourhood. A significant proportion of our children come from Islamic backgrounds and we welcome this new link and hope that it will lead to many more exciting ventures in the future.”

Michael Kerin, chief executive of St Joseph’s, added: “St Joseph’s has served all communities in the diverse East End for over a hundred years. In recent years, our work to reach out to communities coming to live in the area has attracted awards and national interest.

“We hope this link with the East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre will build on this work and ensure that all parts of the community are aware of and feel comfortable about using our services – and that people will be encouraged to support us through volunteering and in other ways, so that we can help even more people in the future.”

Richard House provides care and support for life-limited children and children with complex healthcare conditions and their families. For more information visit www.richardhouse.org.uk.

St Joseph’s provides a full range of community and inpatient services to the people of Hackney, City of London, Newham and Tower Hamlets, as well as inpatient care for people in Camden, Enfield, Harringey, Islington, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. Find out more at www.stjh.org.uk.

The East London Mosque works actively to promote tolerance and understanding and is a member of the Tower Hamlets Council of Mosques. It aims to provide a range of holistic, culturally sensitive services for the communities of London, with a view to improving quality of life and enhancing community cohesion. Further details are available at www.eastlondonmosque.org.uk.