PRESTON, Lancashire – Breaking barriers in their society, a Muslim organization in Preston, Lancashire, has visited children in a hospital and elderly people’s care home to hand out gifts and spread the festive joy of the holiday season.
“This is important especially around Christmas. There are so many issues with loneliness at the moment. For instance, families might only be able to visit their elderly relatives once a week,” Nadeem Ashfaq from the Light Foundation told Lancashire Post on Wednesday.
“All these people are part of our wider family in the Preston community.”
The Light Foundation, a leading group within Preston’s Muslim community, visited the children’s ward at Royal Preston Hospital and elderly residents at Finney House care home in Flintoff Way, handing out gifts to both.
Nadeem, a former Corpus Christi Catholic College student, added: “These types of visits are important for anyone and everyone to take seriously.
“Our visit felt important to us as Muslims, in breaking down these misconceptions that people may have, that we are a closed community, who only look after themselves.’’
The effort was welcomed and appreciated by Preston NHS (UK’s National Health Service) officials.
“We are really appreciative of all of the visitors to our children’s ward over the holidays,” said Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
“It is an especially difficult time for the children and it is great to be able to spread some festive cheer throughout the ward.”
The effort is not the first by the Light Foundation to spread awareness about Islam and to correct misconceptions surrounding it.
On the first Thursday of every month, the organization hosts meetings at the Quaker Meeting House on St George’s Road.
In the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017, the group held a fund-raising appeal for the Roussos family, whose eight-year-old daughter, Saffie, was killed in the attack.
More recently, two members of the organization, Nadeem Ashfaq and Adam Kelwick, answered readers’ questions on a live webcast from Post offices, as part of their ‘Explore Islam’ series of events.
Hundreds of people viewed the live video, with a number of those submitting questions and comments during the social media session.