Initially known as the ‘Greenwich Nepali CommunityCovid-19 Response Group’ (GNCRG) brings together Nepali community organisations, community activists and other organisations in the Royal Borough of Greenwich and beyond to co-produce and coordinate actions to address the impact of Covid-19 (C-19) on the Nepali community in the borough. The group was brought together in January 2021 and was chaired by RBG Public Health team as part of the Greenwich Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan.
The C-19 pandemic has hit the Nepalese community hard, revealing long-standing needs around housing, health and social welfare, employment, recreational stimulation, English language problems and literacy, increasing and critical requirements for translation and interpretation services, more starkly than ever and exacerbating these needs.
Prompted by the pandemic, the Greenwich Nepali Community Covid-19 Response Group has come together to work collectively to address the immediate needs arising out of the C-19 crisis, supporting the members of the Nepalese community to obtain testing and vaccination, and delivering other activities that can help to keep the community safe, protected and well.
2.Purpose & Vision
The purpose of the group is to understand the specific needs of the Nepali community in the borough arising from the impact of COVID-19, to identify, plan and take forward a range of actions that respond to these needs.
The group seeks to protect and promote the safety, health and well-being of the whole community – youngand old – in the time of pandemic and beyond, and to work for equity in access to services and for better outcomes for the Greenwich Nepali community.
Working with partners across the Council, NHS, business and voluntary sectors, the group seeks to give a stronger voice to the Nepali community, overcoming language barriers, increasing access to information and services, facilitating greater integration and understanding between communities and enabling every member of the community to feel at home and valued as part of the wider Greenwich community.
Membership is open to any Gurkha/Nepali communities, local authority and NHS representatives, service charities, advice groups and any other organisation that acts in the interest of the Gurkha/Nepali population.
Actions agreed by the group in response to the specific impacts of the pandemic on the community will be taken forward by working groups made up of representatives of the member organisations, reporting back on progress and further developing implementation with the whole group.
There are currently 20 Nepalese organizations from the Greenwich borough which have actively taken part in the weekly meetings/ forum. The list of organisations actively working together with the RBG Public Health are Nepali Youth Association, South East Regional Tamudhee, NRNA UK State Coordination Council , SSAFA, Age UK, Royal Greenwich Nepalese Society, Afno Charity, Charlton Samaj UK, Pratibha NakshatraUK, Hong Kong Nepali Munch UK, Chitwan Aid Trust(CAT UK) , Skills and Care, Pasa Pucha GuthiSouth East, Gurkha Welfare Society, Pashupati Nath Temple group, Buddha Foundation UK, Gurkha Club, Help Nepal UK and Woolwich Late Nigh Pharmacy.
4. Project Undertaken
Since its inception in January 2021, it has been able to accomplish the following activities.
The group is now formally known as Greenwich Nepalese Coordinating Team (GNCT) and is chaired by Lachhuman Gurung, president of Nepali Youth Association UK. The new structure is as below.
5 A. Project Lead for Community Day Centre- DevenShrestha
B. Project Lead for Mental Health and well being– Raju Neupane
C. Project Lead for Language and Translation- Sabina Shrestha
D. Project Lead for Youth Volunteering and Mobilisation- Ahilya Kunwar
E. Advisor for Media and Community engagement- Druba Raj Aryal
Board of Advisory
1. Bridget Imeson
2. Shri Chandra Gurung
3. Gerry Armstrong
The group meets every fortnightly to discuss the action plans and updates on various projects. The group has had first round of meeting with councillor Morrow on the Community Day centre for Ex-Gurkha Veterans. Project Lead Deven Shrestha made his presentation on the issue facing the Veterans.
This is the first time all Nepalese organisations in the borough are coming together to collectively work to address issues facing the Nepalese community, directly with the councillors and officers from Greenwich council. This is the most inclusive group that has ever been formed in the borough to help tackle the impact of COVID–19 and promote health and wellbeing of this disproportionally affected community. Thanks to the Public Health team Greenwich, NHS CCG, SSAFA and Nepali Youth Association, UK, it is now possible for this much neglected community to work closely with the local authority to support and protect the most vulnerable and general public during and post COVID-19 pandemic.
As we move out of the pandemic, the group has now agreed to continue identifying and addressing the needs of the Nepali community in relation to health and wellbeing, health and safety, social care, housing and education, building on the cooperation and coordination established during the time of pandemic.
On July 20th the group was formally inaugurated by Councillor Mathew Morrow. Various community leaders, charities, voluntary organisations, youth organisations and professionals in the borough participated in the Inauguration of the group. Councillor Morrow from Plumstead and Jane Connor from Public Health Greenwich Council were invited as the main guest in the event.
Chariman Lachhuman Gurung presented the aim and structure of the group. Some major topic on Community Day Centre, Housing, HMO, Mental Health and Language and Translation was discussed during the event.
Team GNCT invites all voluntary organisations, community champions, youth activists, professionalsand charities to come forward to work together for the welfare and interest of the Nepalese community in the borough.
Compiled and edited by Lachhuman Gurung