The OoRITE! Podcast – Episode 4 #BrumTogether

The OoRITE! Podcast is a series in which four people have real conversations online using Zoom, discussing how they’re doing during the current outbreak.

This month The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS) and C4 have collaborated on four episodes with different guests every week! C4 grew up in Birmingham, and has been creating music and art from a very young age, performing on the likes of BBC 1xtra, Radio 1 and other major radio station playlists for the past 10 years

We want to shed light on the highs and lows of lockdown experience, showcase some of the positive work taking place in Birmingham during this time and discuss ways we as a community can connect with each other and stick together going forward.

For our fourth and final episode of this series, we welcome guests Reisz, Kamran and Naomi who share their experiences and talk about how they have seen communities in Birmingham come together to support those in need during lockdown.

Naomi runs a small architectural practice, a start-up charity and is a mum to three young children. She works within communities with many clients from the not-for-profit sector. Recent community action she had seen inspired her to help others and she recently became a trustee of TAWS. ‘Just as the crisis was emerging, I decided to write to all of the neighbours on the street to invite them to join a WhatsApp group. We now have 77 neighbours sharing requests and offers of support through shopping, collecting prescriptions, lending equipment out and just providing friendly interaction and banter! We have started doing fortnightly doorstep foodbank collections too – 38 households donated to last week’s collection.’ Both her and her husband work full time from home. The added pressure of three children to look after and home-school has been stressful and exhausting. But they are grateful to have the opportunity to spend more time with their children.

Reisz is a singer, songwriter and producer from Birmingham with an active career in the arts, including theatre and music. He is currently an Artistic Associate of Birmingham Opera Company. He would consider himself a family man, married with two children and serving in his local church community in the music ministry. ‘I’m currently working from home designing online packages to deliver to our volunteers over 10 districts. Also, I am creatively working on an EP and releasing a single.’ On top of this Reisz is home schooling his children and settling into the role of house husband.

Kamran is a former chartered accountant and after having worked in the industry for over 25 years for organisations such as the Financial Times, he decided to change careers and do something more rewarding. Kamran stepped into the charity sector to become CEO of Green Lane Mosque and Community Centre in Small Heath, one of the most deprived areas in Birmingham. Green Lane Mosque has launched essential COVID-19 food delivery services and foodbanks for the community’s most vulnerable. They also launched an NHS PPE campaign with Loft25, working with over 400 volunteers for the production of PPE. The Mosque set up a befriending phone service ‘Hear4U’ to provide emotional support for people that are self-isolating. They have also partnered with Central Mosque Funeral Service to ensure their teams have robust processes to ensure the safety of staff and volunteers, whilst still providing the utmost care for the deceased and their families. Over the last past two weeks alone, the team have helped arrange 50 funerals. ‘Although many of our usual activities have stopped, our staff and volunteers have been busy realigning their respective services and activities in this ‘new norm’. We can see the great efforts that everyone is making to get things working including; online sessions for children, 40 weekly virtual education classes and Islam/ Dawah talks online with support from many international speakers volunteering their time.’

To hear more about how the lockdown has impacted our guests, and their community efforts listen to episode 4 of the podcast here: 

Our Befriending service is available to everyone who may be feeling concerned or lonely, or simply in need of a friendly chat. If you would like to speak to someone from our team then please get in touch with us through this form or by calling us on 0121 728 7030

Nafeesa Arshad
Author: Nafeesa Arshad