Throughout 2021, the pandemic has continued to have a huge impact on Luton. Despite the many challenges the past year has presented, the Luton community has come together to support one another through this difficult time, with Luton’s mosques playing a vital role in community safety, faith literacy, charitable activities and collaboration. This post reviews some of the key highlights this year – thank you for your support and prayers and special thanks to our community partners, Discover Islam, Community Interest Luton, Inspire FM, Raise Up Foundation, Luton Council of Faiths and iCare.
Healthy community settings and advice for the public
We have continued to work closely with the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) and the Muslim Council of Britain to deliver public health messages and guidance throughout the phases of pandemic restrictions and waves of Covid-19 recurrence.
Luton Mosque representatives have also actively contributed to weekly strategic meetings with Luton Borough Council, Public Health and the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) throughout the pandemic to plan interventions and effective community engagement.
Statements & sermons on contemporary issues
Supporting refugees and the homeless
Bridging the digital divide
Luton Mosques representatives joined Luton Council of Faiths to receive the Queens Award for service to the community spanning 25 years.
Representatives were also awarded the High Sheriff Award for community services during the pandemic and tackling Islamophobia and racism.
Health promotion and advocacy
Schools engagement and Relationship Education
Luton mosques have promoted effective parental engagement at schools locally with a keen focus on driving learning outcomes as well as supporting on matters of heightened tension within the community. We have also provided strategic advice and guidance to senior leaders at schools and multi-academy trusts prior to and during the pandemic.
Through our involvement with Faiths against Sexual Exploitation (FACES), we contributed to research with young people to explore young people’s experiences of, and views on, the place of religion in RSE and how they feel it might better take account of religious faith in the future. The research was undertaken by the Safer Young Lives Research Centre at the University of Bedfordshire and published on the Faces research page.
Working with a dozen primary schools and local Multi-Academy Trusts towards a faith-sensitive appropriate delivery of Relationship & Sex Education (RSE) with arrangements to ensure:
- Age appropriate language and delivery
- Appreciation of faith positions on sexuality
- Separation of gender where suitable
- Governor attended lessons
- Regular parental consultation
Friday sermons have been dedicated to promoting awareness on education matters and working working with educational leaders to raise awareness of Islam and the Muslim community.
The Association of Muslim Schools also launched their RSE curriculum for Islamic independent schools with national uptake and positive feedback. There are efforts underway to deliver a version of this curriculum for maintained schools in the coming year.
For the year ahead, Luton mosques look forward to working with schools to provide advice and guidance on faith practise, as well as supporting parents and governors in their conversations about RSE at their schools.
Establishing Luton’s Peace Gardens
Luton Mosques & Community Interest Luton established the Peace Garden initiative with a range of community partners, including Luton Council of Faiths, to support locals cope with the loss of loved ones through the pandemic by planting a tree in memory of a loved one. It is also about bringing the community together and positively giving back to the local environment.
60+ family members and local residents gathered to plant the first 215 trees at Wigmore Valley park.