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Love and Light

Region 3 - Service & Health Awareness Activities at Russell Square

Sathya Sai Centre of Central London (Russell Square) is located at Coram’s Fields, a seven acre playground and park for children and young people. Coram’s Fields is an historic Grade II listed site run by an independent charity. Until the 1920s, the land was the location of the famous Foundling Hospital, an orphanage established by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram in 1741 for “education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children”. The orphanage is thought to have been the UK’s first incorporated charity.

We at Central London Sathya Sai Centre, consider it as an honour inspired by Sri Sathya Sai Baba to play a small part in ensuring that the “exposed” and the “deserted” continue to be served at Coram’s Fields. Those we serve are “exposed” because they are, largely, homeless. Literally, therefore, they are exposed to the elements, often living on the streets, or in shelters, or perhaps just in inadequate and insecure accommodation. They are “deserted” because, in different ways, they tend to be those who have been a little left behind in life, often not through any weakness or negligence on their part, or through their own deliberate fault, but just through sheer bad luck or unfortunate combination of circumstances.

The Centre strives to support those we serve, as our guests in the spirit of brotherhood in a number of ways. On the third Sunday of every month, a hot sit-down meal is provided, usually to around 70 guests who assemble here. Unlimited hot and cold drinks are also served, along with desserts, fruits, biscuits and other extras for our guests to take away. A free hair-cutting service is also provided each month to our guests – this is usually provided by one of our regular guests and, on occasion, by one of our volunteers. Distribution of clothing also takes place twice each year, with new winter clothing distributed in February.

In the last year, a number of initiatives have also been introduced to try and help some of our guests get back into employment. A representative from a mainline rail company has visited the Centre to speak about employment opportunities within the company. The Centre has also partnered with Crisis to this end, and a number of our guests have now been put through Crisis’ programs. In addition, workshops are soon to be introduced to teach art and craft skills to interested guests, the aim being to enable them to make items which they are then able to sell.

The Centre also conducts an annual Health Awareness Day for its guests; this year, this event was held on Sunday 15 June 2014. The services on offer included blood pressure and blood sugar check, body mass index, Diabetes Risk Assessment, GP referral as well as dental and Eye checks. The TB mobile unit from the University College London was also in attendance to screen for TB. Twelve visitors took up this service.

41 people participated (11 ladies and 30 gents ages ranging from 22 to 81 years) in the Health Awareness clinic. 180 consultations were carried out with seven GP referrals. The team of health care professionals comprised of doctors, nurses, dentists, Optometrist, Ophtalmologist, sonographer as well as a pharmacist together with about twenty general volunteers.

Irene Moore