Julian Knight's Westminster Diary, 02/07/20

Solihull Mail

On Saturday, I joined local residents Umesh Champaneri and Bhavna Dhorajia to take part in a worldwide charitable tradition: Sewa Day.

‘Sewa’ is an Indian concept, which roughly translates as to an act of kindness offered without expectation of any reward. Every year, thousands of people in many countries step forward to put this principle into action.

Here in Solihull we are lucky to have an active Sewa team. I first came across them a few years ago when I opened their sponsored cycle ride in Tudor Grange Park and was delighted to join them at the weekend for this year’s initiative: care packages for local NHS and care workers.

After stocking up on a range of treats, including energy bars and chocolates as well as fruit and other essentials, our first stop was Solihull Hospital.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to meet the staff personally – safety and social distancing always comes first, especially in hospitals – but the security guard promised he’d deliver the goods straight to the staff room, along with a note explaining that they were a small thank-you from the people of Solihull.

After that, we stopped in at several care homes: Ardenlea Court, St Bernard’s, and St George’s. Here our supplies were delivered in beautiful, hand-decorated boxes, prepared for the occasion by local children.

Happily we did have the opportunity to meet the care staff and personally thank them for working so hard on the front line against Covid-19. I also took the chance to speak to Patrick and Claire Byrne, who own St Bernard’s, and the difficulties facing care homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m extremely grateful to Umesh and Bhavna for inviting me to be part of this year’s Sewa Day, and to all the outstanding care staff we met along the way.

But this is just a tiny snapshot of the huge amount of volunteering and charitable giving which goes on every day, all over Solihull.

That’s why I always do my best to offer a little recognition and thanks to those who go the extra mile and make our town such a lovely place to live. Tune in for next week’s Corona Hero!