Eighty-one-year-old Marie Cohen has been volunteering at Sinclair House, the Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, since the 1960s. She was a secretary until she had children; she then worked part-time
Why the youth club?
I started volunteering at Wanstead and Woodford Jewish Youth Club, helping to raise funds, before fundraising for the new Redbridge Jewish Community Centre. I started volunteering in 1969 for Redbridge Jewish Youth Club, based at Sinclair House, when it first opened. My husband and I both felt it was important that young people had a club, so we both volunteered.
What does your volunteering role involve?
I have sat on the door taking subs, made sandwiches for events, braved the noise at discos so that young people can enjoy themselves, and when the club was threatened with closure, sat up all night, with a couple of others, writing begging letters which raised the money to ensure the club stayed open. In 1991, I started the bridge club and every Monday I am there to ensure it runs smoothly. I started the club when I retired from work, but before I could do that I had to raise the money to buy the card tables, covers and cards. I was helping with the juniors too at this time, and only gave that up, very reluctantly, when I could no longer get a lift home and it was too hard for me to walk.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
I love meeting people and talking to them and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they meet their friends.
What is your most memorable volunteering moment?
When we knew Sinclair House would survive.