Lamin is a resident at our Leicestershire brain injury rehabilitation home, Willowbrook. Having the choice and support to practice his religion is top priority for him and is a part of his daily routine. We had a chat with him to find out how he’s been supported to follow his religion during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Adapting to change
Hello Lamin! We understand that while you were in lockdown, practicing your religion has been quite different, could you tell us what’s changed and how you’ve adapted?
“I have continued to do my prayers in my room at the normal times that I would usually do them. I always make sure I complete my regular daily prayers.
“The big change has been my Friday congregational prayer, Jummah. I normally do this at the mosque with others and sometimes my family. Sadly, I haven’t been able to do this due to the Coronavirus, but I have been able to complete these prayers in my bedroom using my visual prompts for Qibla to ensure I pray in the correct direction.”
When Lamin first arrived at Willowbrook, staff helped him locate Qibla. This is the direction Lamin must face when completing his prayers, facing towards Ka’bah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The team put up photographs of the Ka’Bah in his room to help guide where to lay his prayer mat.
It sounds like you’ve adapted well to this difficult situation. How have the support workers at Willowbrook helped you?
“Staff printed a local prayer time chart so I know when I should be praying. This is kept in my bedroom and in the communal areas as I use this as a prompt to complete prayer on time.
The posters, charts and timetables that prompt Lamin enable him to be as independent as possible. Lamin suffers from short term memory loss, his support team understand how crucial these prompts are for his faith. By working with him to understand his needs staff have created a person-centred care plan that provides him choice and encouragement.
“Staff also support me to complete religious activities such as reading the Quran and reminding me to check my prayer times. They always provide me with Halal food from local butchers and ensure labels are in place during meal times to let me know this is Halal.”
“My faith is my way of life”
How important is it that you live somewhere that staff can help you practice your faith?
“It is very important that the staff here can help me follow my faith as it is my way of life. It’s even more important to me than food. Therefore, it is crucial that I have staff who are always happy to keep helping me to find ways to practice my religion. This includes helping with prayer, trips to the mosque (when safe) and ensuring my diet is Halal.”
Passionate about his faith
We also spoke to Margaret and Lorna, who are part of the staff team at Willowbrook.
“Lamin gets along with everyone here at Willowbrook. He encourages those who are supporting him to learn about his religion, as he loves answering questions about it. It’s a pleasure listening to him talk so passionately about this.
He’s great at educating others about his faith, and even explains the differences following his religion here and back home in Gambia, Africa. The staff team at Willowbrook are very diverse and Lamin always listens respectfully when others talk about their faith. He always encourages staff with the same beliefs to join him in communal prayer.”
Willowbrook are shortly going to be joined by another person we support who is Muslim. This gentleman is transitioning to Willowbrook from another one of our services, to live with others who practice his religion and has already met Lamin over a video call on Microsoft Teams.
Brain injury rehabilitation support
Willowbrook is a purpose-built service where we support up to six people with a brain injury and associated needs, including physical disabilities and behaviour support. It is one of our 18 rehabilitation services across the UK.
We work intensively with multi-disciplinary teams to rehabilitate and provide on-going care and support for people with brain injuries and complex needs. We have a collaborative process that encourages, educates and supports people to take control of their lives after a brain injury and regain their independence.
Would you like to read more about how staff support people to continue practicing their religion? Check out: