Brent Punjabi Association
The Brent Punjabi Association (BPA) was established in 2010 by Mrs Joginder Kundhi, as a way to bring local older women from south Asian communities together, providing them with the opportunity to improve both their physical and mental well-being. The group has though always welcomed members from all backgrounds and faiths – Indian, Pakistani, and European; Hindu, Muslim or Christian. The chance to mix and learn from people with different experiences being one of the organisation’s lasting strengths.
The BPA currently meets weekly at St Andrew’s Church Hall on Harrow Rd, Sudbury, something which WNST has been pleased to support financially over the years. Each session starts with an exercise session, perhaps yoga, tai-chi or Indian dance, helping the participants, all aged 60+ with some now into their 80s, maintain and improve their all-round physical fitness. A healthy Indian lunch is then followed by singing, games or discussion (“no politics and no religion though” as I was told on a recent visit!) all keeping the members mentally fit and alert.
For many of the group members, the weekly trip to BPA is their only outing of the week and their one chance to socialise and be active with people outside their immediate family circle. Others live alone and really value this time together with others. Members also talk of how their health has improved through the regular exercise sessions and their enjoyment of the camaraderie. Fewer ailments, fewer visits to the GP and healthier citizens.
Keeping active during lockdown
During the pandemic, BPA took its first venture into the digital world, to ensure that members could stay connected during lockdown, helping those without family help to get online and meet remotely with each other. There were also virtual knitting and craft groups, helping members keep active when unable to leave the house. Others were kept in touch with by phone, to help alleviate the isolation.
Earlier this year, BPA founder, Mrs Kundhi, was recognised by the BBC’s The One Show for her contribution to helping local people during lockdown. She was surprised by friends, family and the BBC’s own John Whaite, who thanked her for her outstanding efforts.
BPA is an excellent example of how WNST’s interest in sport and physical recreation can extend beyond the usual football and cricket clubs, to help ensure that all sections of the local community can stay fit and healthy.
For more information visit www.brentpunjabi.org