Sikh chaplaincy group pleased with appeal response but needs more volunteers

Mayor of Barking and Dagenham Hardial Singh Rai, trustee Ujajar Singh Bhandal, co-ordinator Paminder

Mayor of Barking and Dagenham Hardial Singh Rai, trustee Ujajar Singh Bhandal, co-ordinator Paminder Kaur Kondral, trainee chaplains Palwinder Kaur Raju, Tavinder Kaur New, chaplain Satwant Kaur Marwah and Cllr Balvinder Kaur Saund outside King George Hospital. - Credit: Archant

A Sikh group offering spiritual guidance and comfort to people in hospital says it is pleased with the response to an appeal for volunteers, but urged more people to come forword.

The group helps people at King George Hospital (KGH) in Barley Lane, Goodmayes, among others.

It is part of a multifaith mission to provide support to anyone, regardless of their religion, gender or race, who needs support while they are ill.

In January 2013, the National Sikh Chaplaincy called for more volunteers and said it was pleased with the level of interest shown.

Parminder Kaur Kondral, from the chaplaincy group, said: “Patients cannot go to the temple because of their condition. We take the prayers and the community to the hospital to do prayers for them.

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“We build relationships with the professionals and show what it means to be a holy person in our community.”

She said this is particularly important as some health professionals may not know all the religious sensitivities surrounding different religions.

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“It spiritually uplifts patients,” Mrs Kondral said. “I try to do anything I can to make them feel comfortable. We go when we are needed.”

One of the ways the health chaplaincy tries to do this is by producing leaflets for people working in hospitals so they have a better understanding about the patients they treat.

In November, the Sikh Healthcare Chaplaincy Group organised a day of prayer at Goodmayes Hospital, KGH, and Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

The day aimed to increase community links between the NHS and the Sikh community and gurdwaras in Redbridge.

For 2014, Mrs Kondral said she has high hopes that there will be more new members, particularly in other boroughs where there is no Sikh representative.

“It’s not about converting people,” Mrs Kondral added. “We speak to people of all faiths.”

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