On 17th December 2020, Forward Thinking held an online roundtable ‘Reflecting on the Role of Community’.

2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year, and Muslim communities have been at the forefront of responses to coronavirus whilst continuing to deliver other vital community services.

This aim of this meeting was to provide a space for community representatives to share how they have adapted to new ways of working and responded to need throughout the year, as well as to give insight on difficulties that they have faced and any lessons to be learnt from this.

Participants spoke to a range of the challenges faced over the year by their communities including the health impacts of the virus, loss of loved ones, mental health problems and financial impacts on mosques and community organisations.

They also raised a range of structural inequalities including racism, sexism and Islamophobia that the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated.

Many expressed a desire to not return to the status quo following the pandemic but to instead build back a more equal society.

Participants valued the opportunity to share perspectives with others who are active in community work across the country and requested further similar meetings in the new year to continue collaboration.