Crumpsall in deal to stave off closure

A thousand boys from local schools took part in an annual High Holy Days prayer service at Higher Crumpsall Synagogue this week (photo: Lawrence Purcell)

A thousand boys from local schools took part in an annual High Holy Days prayer service at Higher Crumpsall Synagogue this week (photo: Lawrence Purcell)

A north Manchester synagogue says it will fight financial turmoil and possible shut-down.

Higher Crumpsall Hebrew Congregation has struck a new deal for special needs school Langdon College to hire its hall for drama classes. The warden, Tony Glyn, hopes further arrangements of this sort will generate enough revenue to save it from thousands of pounds of debt. Talks are also underway to house a new minyan for strictly Orthodox young families, to halt declining membership.

Mr Glyn said: "We have batmitzvahs from the King David schools, and 1,000 boys came this week from various Manchester schools for their annual tehillim service. We would like the shul to be here for the community."

The historic, listed synagogue owes thousands to the Rainsough Joint Hebrew Burial Board in maintenance debts. Partial accounts given to members show no funds to cover the future burial costs of its 185 members.

But Mr Glyn said payments of £3,000 in the last few weeks show Higher Crumpsall can pay its bills.

He insisted that closure of the synagogue, with its unique services led by Chazan Avraham Hillman and its choir, had never been considered. He said: "What shul hasn't got cash flow problems? But we will overcome it. We get money in and we pay our bills."

Brian White, who runs the Rainsough Charitable Trust, said Higher Crumpsall still owed £10,000. He said: "They have paid £1,000 here and there in the last two months and they have no arrears for funerals. I don't want to see the place shut down, I want to see people being honest with their members and have transparency with their accounts."

Mr Glyn responded: "We have assets that can be materialised. If need be, we own the house at the back, which is empty, and our hall. There should not be any concerns from our members. Funerals are paid right away."

Langdon College principal Christopher Mayho said they will move its drama classes after Succot following the closure of its previous venue, Mamlock House. He said: "We want to use more Jewish facilities where possible."

Gallery: Worldwide prayer gathering

Last updated: 11:03am, September 27 2010