Preston North End will be celebrating the month of Ramadan by providing free fresh fruit, water and dates for those who are fasting, with a gazebo to be stationed at Deepdale each evening throughout the holy month of Islamic celebrations.
Preston North End Community and Education Trust will be working in partnership with Preston United, Preston City Council, Deepdale councillors Zafar Coupland, Siraz Natha and Ismail Bax, Lancashire County Councillor Frank de Molfetta, KGN Food Store, and the Community Gateway Association to deliver the project.
A gazebo, which will allow those who are fasting to access free, culturally appropriate goods, will operate outside the community offices on Alan Kelly Walk at Deepdale.
There will be an additional stall in the Deepdale area at the junction between Holmrook Road and Castleton Road – across from the MOT garage.
Members of the community will be able to access goods from 6pm to 7.30pm every evening from Tuesday 12th April until Friday 7th May, allowing them to open their nightly fast with culturally appropriate foods. The fast of Ramadan typically sees Muslims abstaining from eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset every day throughout the holy month.
Members of staff from each organisation will be on site at the stalls each evening too, and will be able to signpost those who access the stall to relevant organisations and support services if required.
All Covid-19 protocols will be strictly followed to ensure that the stall can be accessed safely by all members of the community and staff amid the ongoing pandemic.
Head of Community Engagement Rebecca Robertson said: “We have been working closely with Preston United, our local councillors and the Community Gateway Association on several projects in recent months, and we are pleased to be continuing that partnership to mark the month of Ramadan.
“We have an ethnically diverse community surrounding Deepdale, which includes a significant number of people of a Muslim faith who live in the immediate vicinity of our stadium.
“Ramadan is an incredibly important time for the Islamic community and we hope that by providing fresh water, fruit and dates, we can support those celebrating Ramadan through the challenges of fasting. We’re thankful to KGN Food Store for their support in helping us to source the culturally appropriate foods for the benefit of the wider community.
“Some of our non-Muslim staff members will also be taking part in the fast over this period of time to show our support and acknowledgment of this important month. Our staff members will be sharing their experiences of fasting on social media, where we will also be sharing educational resources around Ramadan.
“We’re looking forward to engaging with our local community throughout the month of Ramadan and welcoming people to Preston North End in a safe capacity to support them as they fast.”
Omar Khan of Preston United explained the importance of Ramadan and why those of an Islamic faith fast throughout the holy month.
He said: “This Ramadan will be a continuation of the projects that we’ve been running with Preston North End in partnership with the Community and Education Trust. This year, we are celebrating the beginning of Ramadan by providing Iftar packs, which is food to open the fast.
“Preston North End, working alongside Community Gateway, Preston United and local councillors Coupland, Bax and Natha, have come together to put food packs together and get funding to secure food packs for everybody in Deepdale.
“We will have three stations in Deepdale where people can come, take some food, and talk to the PNE staff. It’s an expansion of what the Trust is trying to do, to get out in the community and understand its community.
“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and is a time to reflect on how we lead our daily lives. It’s a very spiritual time.
“We fast on average 16-and-a-half hours each day, from sunrise to sunset, each day. It’s a great time for us as individuals to reconnect with God and is also a celebration of love and harmony within the community. It is also the month where the holy book, the Qur'an, was revealed to our Prophet Muhammad by God.”
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