The memorandum provides a formal channel through which Islington Council can call on Muslim Aid for assistance in the event of an emergency, alongside other charities such as the British Red Cross. The aim of the partnership is to provide rapid humanitarian assistance, assisting vulnerable people during and following a major incident or civil contingency.
It is believed to be the first time a local authority in the UK has formalised an emergency planning and assistance agreement with a Muslim faith-based organisation.
Under the memorandum, Islington Council has agreed to provide training to Muslim Aid staff on aspects of emergency planning that relate to UK emergency response, such as setting up rest centres, communication during critical incidents and resource management. Muslim Aid staff will also be invited to join multi-agency emergency response exercises to test and develop the borough’s humanitarian response.
Muslim Aid was one of several charities which played a vital role in the response to the Grenfell disaster, with its volunteers and staff distributing food, clothing and cash grants, organising meals, arranging accommodation and providing vital emotional support for those affected.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Performance & Community Safety, said:
“During a major incident, the council and emergency services have our hands fairly full managing the situation as it evolves. That’s why it’s vitally important that we work with trusted partners in the voluntary and community sector to help provide both immediate and ongoing assistance to those affected.
“The council works with some impressive charity and community partners to plan and prepare for emergencies. Muslim Aid has been working in Islington for many years now and we are delighted to make the most of their dedication and experience.
“Islington has a proud history of coming together as a community in the wake of serious incidents. We are stronger together, and we look after each other around here.”
CEO of Muslim Aid, Jehangir Malik OBE, said:
“The voluntary sector, including faith-based organisations, need to be at the frontline of delivery during emergencies because of their understanding of and relationship with the communities on the ground. Muslim Aid has seen the importance of faith-sensitive and trusted care in the harrowing days of the Grenfell fire and responding to floods and other crises.
“We are pleased that Islington Council is now planning ahead and including Muslim Aid so that, should disaster strike, Muslim Aid staff and volunteers can play our part alongside other voluntary agencies, relevant professional support and public servants.”