On 6 April, British Union Conference (BUC) Health Ministries Director, Sharon Platt-McDonald, was contacted by the Department of Health and Social Care, (DHSC) seeking to engage the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) churches in a pilot initiative to become Self-Test Collection Sites. With twice weekly briefing meetings, led by DHSC personnel Wilma King, and subsequently Debbie Searle, a partnership working ensued which entailed collaboration with churches nominated to participate in the first round of this initiative. These were churches who have been engaged in outreach initiatives to the community, during the pandemic.
Leicester Central was the first to come on board with its successful launch on 12/05/2021 under the able leadership of Pastor Michael Baker and his team of volunteers. Since then other Adventist churches are becoming Self-Test Kits Collection Centres, namely: Willesden, Balham and North Wembley.
The official launch took place on Wednesday 2 June at the Stanborough Park Centre with guest attendee Watford MP Dean Russell. In attendance was Enoch Kanjira from One Vision and BUC Health Director Sharon Platt-McDonald. See video here.
The official launch took place on Wednesday 2 June at the Stanborough Park Centre with guest attendee Watford MP Dean Russell. In attendance was Enoch Kanagaraj from One Vision and BUC Health Ministries Director Sharon Platt-McDonald. See video here.
A Covid-19 Self-Testing pilot programme launched by a government-backed rapid testing programme at the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist church, working in partnership with the UK Health Security Agency, is making regular testing available to anyone in the local community.
The British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are committed to setting up collection points throughout their network of churches and has already rolled out in Leicester with positive feedback.
The rapid testing programme is part of the Government's ongoing drive to increase the availability of testing and help stop the spread of Covid-19.
The Government-backed rapid testing programme at the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist church, on St Albans Road in Watford, is actively helping the Christian and local community stay safe by offering regular testing services. With over 1,400 tests delivered, the community can hope to continue to worship safely in the coming months.
Around one in three people who are infected with Covid-19 have no symptoms, so could be spreading the disease without knowing it.
Each positive result from a rapid test is one that would not have been found otherwise, helping break chains of transmission in our communities and workplaces and protecting those at highest risk. These tests will help keep places of worship and businesses open, children in school and allow people to visit their loved ones safely.
On a national scale, the British Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists head office is also taking part in Workplace Testing.
Rapid testing using lateral flow tests can return results within 30 minutes and can provide the community with reassurance that they are not infectious or enabling them to isolate immediately if they were to test positive.
Health Minister Lord Bethell said:
"We have already come so far since launching a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to combat Covid-19 and we encourage everyone in local communities to take up the offer of free testing so we can quickly squash any outbreaks.
"Testing is vital to the health and protection of our family, friends and those we worship with, as it allows cases to be caught early before they spread, and I am delighted that the Government-backed rapid testing programme at the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist churchis working with us to help target the virus locally and keep people safe.
"Twice-weekly testing, alongside vaccine rollout, is critical in helping to suppress and control the spread of new variants of this dreadful disease."
Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency Jenny Harries said:
"The innovation and evolution of NHS Test and Trace continues to improve our detection of positive cases and I am incredibly proud of the speed at which we have been able to roll out these initiatives in local communities to protect more people even more quickly. This is a national effort and partnerships like this locally are instrumental in our response to this virus.
"Around one in three people with Covid-19 do not display symptoms, meaning you can infect others unknowingly. This rapid testing programme with the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist church is one of many that will help find and isolate asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 as we return to a more normal way of life."
Member of Parliament for Watford Dean Russell MP said:
"I am pleased that Watford has been chosen for this important testing pilot. Regular testing plays a big part in helping us get back to normal as we enter the summer months. I am grateful to the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist church for their part in helping bring our whole community together across Watford.
"Throughout the pandemic our town has come together as one community to support each other, and this is yet another example of us working together to lead our way out of lockdown."
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said:
"It's fantastic to have Watford's Seventh-day Adventist church proactively taking part in a pilot which will play a big role in helping to protect our community. Testing is an important tool to help combat the spread of the virus and it is a simple action we can all take in order to safeguard others. Our town has been incredibly united throughout this crisis, rallying to protect and support others, and this pilot is another great example of this."
Pastor Ian Sweeney – President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland said:
"As a faith community, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is pleased to be a part of this initiative as it harmonises with our health and social principles. We have always believed and practised that prevention is better than cure and that we must love our neighbours. Through distributing of self-test kits, we are honoured to play our part in the protection and prevention of Covid transmission in our neighbourhoods."
Sharon Platt-McDonald – Director for Health, Women's Ministries & Community Outreach Services for the SDA Church in the UK & Ireland said:
"We are delighted to work in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care on this key NHS Test and Trace initiative.
"Our denomination has a strong well-being and humanitarian focus as part of our spiritual development and outreach. Subsequently, as a faith community, we are well placed to support individuals to engage in national health related projects, to safeguard both their health, and the well-being of others.
"I applaud the Leicester Central Adventist church and the One Vision charity, at the Stanborough Park church, for their launch as a Self-Test Kits Collection Centre. I am looking forward to support other churches to do the same, as we seek to protect against the spread of Covid-19."
The plan and projection of the project are detailed here.
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