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Goodmayes mental health facility seeks new imam for its patients

Pictured (L to R): Sara Betteridge, NELFT Chaplain/Spiritual Care Advisor, and Mirabai Swingler, NELFT Chaplain/Spiritual Care Team Leader Pictured (L to R): Sara Betteridge, NELFT Chaplain/Spiritual Care Advisor, and Mirabai Swingler, NELFT Chaplain/Spiritual Care Team Leader

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
2:58 PM

A mental health facility is searching for a volunteer imam to cater for the spiritual needs of its Muslim patients.

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Sunflowers Court mental health facility on the Goodmayes Hospital site in Barley Lane, Goodmayes. Photo credit: Mark SeppleSunflowers Court mental health facility on the Goodmayes Hospital site in Barley Lane, Goodmayes. Photo credit: Mark Sepple

The Sunflowers Court facility at Goodmayes Hospital in Barley Lane, Ilford, has a chaplaincy service to meet the religious demands of its patients.

Sara Betteridge, North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) chaplain and spiritual care advisor, has been searching for a new imam for around six months after the previous incumbent left.

“I think what has been difficult is getting the message to the right people,”said Ms Betteridge, a Muslim, who currently fulfils the role.

She added: “We have been going to mosques but they had difficulty because obviously they have been busy with their own congregation.”

Sunflowers Court currently has volunteer faith leaders for five faiths - Jewish, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Sikh.

Ms Betteridge, 33, of Southend, said: “We had an imam working with us for quite a while and he was very good and he built on his experience - but he left.”

Ms Betteridge insists the facility has coped since the turn of the year, but to meet the spiritual needs of its patients it needs to find an imam.

“We will fully support the person and do all the checks they need but it is a volunteer position so we would prefer someone from Redbridge,” she added.

The imam, according to Ms Betteridge, would only be required to work a couple of hours a week.

Ms Betteridge also added: “We want someone who has experience of mental health care, too.”

Are you an imam? Would you be interested in taking on the volunteer position? Please email sara.betteridge@nelft.nhs.uk or call the Recorder newsdesk on 0208 477 3825.

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