A short closing set by British pop sensation Emeli Sandé sent the 1,200 guests at Jewish Care’s campaign dinner home with a song in their hearts. But the greatest hit for the welfare charity’s chiefs was the subsequent announcement of record £4.2 million proceeds from the event, held at Grosvenor House in London’s Park Lane.
As Jewish Care chairman Steven Lewis made clear in his speech, there was much for the money to go towards, particularly as legacy income of £3 million last year was £1 million down on the budgeted total. The charity needed to raise £15 million from the community this year just to fund current services. It could not manage without the support of its army of 3,000 volunteers, whose efforts saved an estimated £9 million annually — and just as importantly, “help to bring the Yiddishkeit to our services”.
One tough decision had been selling the loss-making Southend care home, Raymond House, albeit while ensuring the continuation of a Jewish lifestyle for residents.
“Many in our community know Jewish Care for our 12 residential care homes,” Mr Lewis told diners. “And it remains the case that over 70 per cent of our 700 residents require our support to meet the cost of their care. However, what you may not know is that we have a vast array of other vital services, for which we receive virtually no government funding. The biggest challenge we continue to face is the number of those we care for who live with dementia.
“In some of our residential care homes, 100 per cent of new residents have a diagnosis of dementia. And it goes beyond our homes, whether it’s the rise in dementia-related inquiries to our helpline or the specialist support we provide to those in our centres for people living with dementia.”
A significant milestone had been the creation of a single service for those with mental-health needs through a partnership with the Jewish Association for Mental Illness, demonstrating how communal organisations could work together, “both for the benefit of service users and to ensure we can be as effective as possible”. Mr Lewis also used his speech to announce the start of building work on a third care home on the Asher Loftus Way site in Friern Barnet, alongside Lady Sarah Cohen House and Rosetrees.
He said that anyone who had visited Selig Court on the flagship Wohl campus in Golders Green “knows this is the future of care.
“As we push on with further projects, we hope to establish more independent living schemes. Our plans for the Redbridge Jewish Community Centre are now moving forward and we are looking to improve the facilities for the residents of Rela Goldhill Lodge [in Golders Green].”
Video screens dotted about the venue flashed up key statistics — for example, the charity supports 7,000 people and their families each week and its helpline receives 10,000 inquiries annually. For those with a restricted view of the stage, the screens were invaluable for watching the main speakers and Emeli Sandé.
Guest speaker was London Mayor Boris Johnson, who said he was “thrilled to be invited”, going on to praise Jewish Care for setting “a benchmark for standards of care in this city and this country”. Ms Sandé said it was “a great pleasure to be involved in such a fantastic charity”.