Recession splits the Clubhouse

A pioneering Orthodox organisation that helps young people and families in trouble is to be broken up into separate charities as a consequence of the economic climate.

Harris Rosenberg, until recently head of grants and commissioning at the Northwest Clubhouse in London, said that rather continuing as an umbrella body, “a better way to protect our services to those in need of support in our community was to split it”.

The Clubhouse — whose budget increased from around £800,000 five years ago to over £2.2 million last year — runs programmes including mentoring and counselling in schools, debt counselling for families and aid to Orthodox teenagers at risk of going off the rails.

Mr Rosenberg, now a management consultant to the various spin-off charities, said: “In terms of funding, it is a bit easier to understand a charity that has a single focus.”

Since its inception in 2001, the Clubhouse’s clientele has risen from 70 young people to more than 800 last year, plus 325 parents experiencing debt or other problems. In 2005, its work earned it a National Lottery grant of over £100,000.

Many youngsters who had come through the Clubhouse doors had been “brought back into society”, Mr Rosenberg said. “Some got professional qualifications, some are running thriving businesses. It turned lives round.”

The new divisions include one for boys excluded from school or in personal crisis; Israel Clubhouse for those who have gone to Israel to study; LJAC, providing debt and other counselling; Parent Support Services and Jewish Schools Services, engaged in preventative work with children who might otherwise be at risk of exclusion from school.

    Last updated: 2:38pm, April 2 2009