Our dear colleague Sarbjit Rayat sadly passed away on Christmas Day night peacefully in her sleep, Sarb was a wonderful and longstanding member of staff known as ‘Sarb’ to all of us.
Sarb worked for the Health For All Healthy Communities team as a community health development worker on the Better Together programme. She had worked for the charity for thirteen years establishing and supporting weekly support groups for local people, primarily minority ethnic frail older people but also people new to the country, families with young children and local women’s groups.
Just a week before Christmas Sarb had been busy packing and delivering parcels of gifts for the group members.
Prior to working for HFA, Sarb was the Administrator for ‘Amrit’ older people’s neighbourhood scheme based at Lady Pit Lane Gurdwara for four years. She was totally committed to her job and the people she served. Her warm smile and gentle manner successfully engaging people in enjoyable, supportive groups and activities.
“Sarb was passionate about working with Sikh & Hindu elders. Everyone in the team loved her. She will always be remembered for her friendly, welcoming personality” says Vikrant Bhatia, her manager at Amrit.
She was also loved by all her previous and current colleagues at Health For All. Close colleague Thahmina Begum says:
“My beautiful friend and colleague Sarb was a truly a genuine, generous, kind person with an infectious smile! She epitomised true Community Development and always gave her time to talk to everyone she met in the community, she will be dearly missed.”
Sarb leaves a loving family including her husband, teacher Jinder Rayat and four beautiful children – Gagandeep, Sandeep, Simarpreet and Simran (one at university, two working, one doing her MPhil). Sarb was a dedicated mother first and foremost, treasuring her children and so proud of what they have achieved!
Remembering her with great affection, we will plant in her memory her favourite rose bush in the grounds of Beeston Village Community Centre where she was based.
Sarb was well known in the local Community for her volunteering and dedication to others. She volunteered at the Punjabi school in Moortown, offering her time through ‘Seva’ to Sikh temples in Chapeltown and Beeston.
She organised several summer camps at Chapeltown Gurudwara, helping children to participate in fun filled activities. She was a talented harmonium player from her childhood and a beautiful singer too, skills she has passed on to her lovely children.
We remember Sarb as a dedicated and passionate member of our team. She always wanted the best for her groups, however challenging, from setting up a virtual exercise group or helping mums with free school meals or benefits. She was competitive in a fun way, striving to win, whether a sports challenge, staff Christmas quiz or a 5k funding raising run for Cancer Research. She was enthusiastic in taking part, trying new opportunities and never letting others down.
HFA group members remember Sarb as loving, caring, joyful, sharing , smiling, helping and always there for anyone who needed help. She would go out of her way to help, one young mum recalling how touched she was by support from Sarb to help her overcome emotional difficulties she had struggled with from childhood.
Close friend and colleague Bally says:
“Sarb always had time for everyone, we loved our Chai & chats! I remember her calm and sensitive nature, she was passionate and worked hard to help older people, on trips, at Bollywood films, Christmas & Diwali. I will miss the time we spent together. Sarb you will be in our hearts always!”
This post was written by Toshal Bhatia
Main photo: Sarbjit (far left) with a group of older people