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Posted on Aug 26 2021 by Fiona Bailey

The Lead Chaplain of St Andrew’s Healthcare has reflected on the pandemic appearing on a BBC programme about “unknown beautiful souls” who gave encouragement and support throughout.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sikh Reflections programme Kartar Singh Bring spoke about his own experiences of supporting members of his community and how others also helped him.

He said: “In the context of the pandemic I see compassionate living as not just alleviating the pains of others, but minimising the causes of suffering, taking whatever steps we can to prevent others from suffering also.”

Also, Chair of the Sikh think-tank Vision1469, Kartar added: “Knowing that we cannot always alleviate someone’s pain and suffering, we can still bring comfort through companionship, our willingness to listen and walk alongside a person who is suffering makes a world of difference.

“And even though we cannot carry your burden for you we will make sure that you’re not alone on the journey. We are here beside you without judgement or expectation.

Just a week after his BBC appearance, Kartar also appeared on the Sikh Channel to raise awareness of how important personal well-being is to everyone and to shine a light on how some members of the Sikh community may have suffered during the UK lockdowns.

During his appearance he also discussed the importance of a new support helpline that has been launched for older members of the Sikh and Punjabi-speaking community.

He said: “For many, being able to access support within the community could actually be a lifeline. Being able to pick up the phone and speak to someone in their own language could be enough to prevent someone from reaching crisis point.”

Kartar, who has been providing pastoral spiritual guidance and religious care to the patients and staff of St Andrew’s since 2015, also discussed the importance of his role within the hospital setting.

He said: “We’re embedded within these healthcare institutions for a reason as we offer vital services to those who require it. Having someone they can open up to about their thoughts and feelings can be very therapeutic.

“We also know that providing good quality pastoral and spiritual care can improve health outcomes and speed up recovery so we we’re doing is providing an essential service which is available to everyone.”

To hear Kartar on BBC’s Sikh Reflections, click here.