The Prince of Wales, Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust, met local members of the Indian community as part of a series of engagements in Coventry this week. Prince Charles attended the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and met community members who are fundraising to support those impacted by the Covid-19 crisis in India.
Last month, the royal launched the British Asian Trust’s emergency appeal '' to raise vital funds to aid India's ongoing Covid-19 crisis. To date, the appeal has raised a staggering £4 million and provided life-saving oxygen concentrators to tens of thousands who are suffering the worst in India.
The vital appeal will help fund not just 4,835 oxygen concentrators but also two PSA plants (oxygen generators) and medical supplies and tele medical linkages to 2,000 villages in India.
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In Coventry, HRH The Prince of Wales also met with members of the community who have been directly affected by the pandemic in India through friends and relatives living there.
Prince Charles said: "I am enormously proud that all of you and your generosity, here in the United Kingdom, has done so much to help those in India who are going through such an incredibly difficult time. It seems that almost every member of the diaspora here in the United Kingdom knows someone affected. So, I can understand even more, how much it means to them.
“I particularly wanted to show my appreciation, as far as the is concerned, as you have been able to begin a meaningful emergency appeal and actioned to ensure that oxygen concentrators have got to India and have been dispatched to rural areas, where there is a real need. Clearly, there is much more that is needed to be done to provide support and of course, to help build back better."
The British Asian Trust launched Oxygen For India as an emergency appeal in response to the . Having consulted with the Indian and UK governments, the British Asian Trust’s advisors and programme partners in India have outlined a package of support that will compliment what industry, government and other charities are doing to help.
Hitan Mehta, Executive Director for the British Asian Trust, said: “We are incredibly grateful to over 22,000 people for making individual donations and it has been great to see the support given by so many corporates, trusts and foundations to try and help save lives in India at this most difficult time.”
Over the coming weeks, the British Asian Trust will deepen its focus on medical care to treat those in rural and hard to reach communities who have little or no access to medical facilities; and start work on longer term strategies that will enable a more sustainable route out of the crisis including supporting a vaccine programme to ensure the poorest people have equal access to life-saving vaccines and mental health support for children and adults to cope with the unprecedented levels of grief and anxiety.
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The engagement this week was part of a series of stops in Coventry by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. As part of the celebrations of being the UK's City of Culture for 2021, the royals visited several local landmarks including Coventry Cathedral, Coventry Central Library and Coventry Canal, where the Prince of Wales travelled on a working heritage boat Scorpio up the Coventry Canal to the Coventry Canal Basin and met local community groups who have helped look after the canal.