Food, fuel and faith: The impact of the cost of living crisis in Cardiff's Sikh community

Quite often, when journalists seek the views of members of the public on issues of current affairs, we can struggle to find people willing to speak to us.

Sometimes that's due to shyness, but mainly people say they are not sure how the issue affects them, or they feel they don't have strong enough views to warrant telling the world what they think.

I have found that is rarely the case when it comes to the cost of living.

The soaring cost of just about everything is a subject that seemingly everyone has a view on - a strong view normally - and that's because it is affecting all of us up and down the country.

Nowhere has this been more obvious than within the Sikh community in Cardiff, which I recently visited.

Amerpreet Singh Khalsa - a taxi driver turned delivery driver for a pizza company - invited me to visit his local temple alongside his family.

While the record price of fuel is drastically affecting the money he takes home, the cost of energy is also increasing the amount of money he needs just to keep the lights on.

Amerpreet (centre) told me he's concerned about the direction fuel and food prices are headed

"It's scary," Amerpreet told me.

"It's scary because I had an email about a week back from my energy supplier saying that from April, your direct debit will be going up to £255 a month.

"I thought to myself, well, I can't afford that. I've got a mortgage to pay. I've got to feed the kids school dinners".

The service takes place in a smaller room on the ground floor of the gurdwara, or temple.

There is a larger and grander room on the floor above, but heating it during the chilly winter months is an unnecessary outlay.The service I attended doubled as a special day for one young man having his turban-tying ceremony, which symbolised his ongoing progression from boy to man.

It was a special day for one young man at the temple as he had his turban-tying ceremony

Someone else I met that afternoon who is growing up quickly was Anisha. Talking to her, it was abundantly clear the cost of living is already a burden on younger minds too.

"Things like petrol, food and drinks are going up", she tells me.

"It's a lot to take in. You have to save money for food instead of going out. So it's a huge impact on people's lives really."The temple provides Lungar, or free hot food, for everyone here every week. Speaking outside to three sister-in-laws, Lungar is already a lifeline for many. "There are vulnerable people out there who really look forward to coming out, this is on a Sunday, to have a hot meal", Raj Kaur told me. "I'm a student and my husband's a full time worker so he's obviously paying the bills himself", Asha Kaur said.

"I might have to quit my studies and maybe get a job just to help. I'm a full time student at the moment so I just can't do both".

Worshippers and families are offered a free hot meal at the Gurdwara - often a lifeline for many

The free food provided here is not free for the families who provide on weekly rotations, however, as Prab Kaur pointed out.

"They have to go and buy the vegetables, all the ingredients and then again, use fuel to go back and forward to the shops," he explained.

"So it is quite a struggle at the moment. It's affecting everyone". The next generation at the temple are encouraged to participate fully in their faith, for this community has a central role in helping their families through hardship."It is sort of a family", Sungat Singh tells me.

"We all come from different backgrounds, from Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, and Europeans as well. They're coming in and they're looking for guidance and help"."Are you worried about the cost of living crisis?", I ask.

"Of course, this is a very, very serious impact on the community and from all faiths and backgrounds. And not only that, because it's a struggle, it's going to affect people in many, many different ways".

The cost of living crisis is having an impact on how some people manage to practice their faith

People's commitment to their faith and their community is evidently strong here, but the price of fuel is straining that relationship. Amerpreet told me some of his congregation are telling him they may struggle to keep driving to the temple every Sunday, if diesel and petrol remain at eye-watering prices.

That would also have a knock-on affect on the number of donations the temple gets from worshippers who post what change they have to spare on arrival.

Without those donations, a warm temple building and the free hot food that many rely on may be at risk.

The cost of living crisis: cruelly eating into people's budgets and the practicing of their faith.