The Earl of Wessex helped JLGB to launch a volunteering initiative in Kensington on Tuesday at a gathering of 800 brigade members and supporters.
Evolve will make it easier for young people to find volunteering opportunities through an online search system. The scheme will also allow volunteers to build up an online profile, keeping track of their placements. The royal presence also reflected a celebration of the 3,000 Jews who have participated in Duke of Edinburgh Award activities over the past five years.
The Earl spoke with JLGB members Hannah Pedro, 17, and Miles Bardon, 18. “I told him about the three-week National Citizen Service programme I was involved in,” said Miles, a JFS pupil. “We learnt how to shoot and edit video,” leading to a documentary on East End memories of the elderly.
He also presented a surprise lifetime achievement award to 79-year-old Barry Hieger, who joined the then Jewish Lads’ Brigade 68 years ago and ran its first Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award expeditions in 1961. “I am shocked, but very proud,” Mr Hieger said afterwards. “I still keep fit as I swim regularly and even continue to work as a lifeguard.”
JLGB president Lord Levy said that JLGB had been something of a Cinderella organisation within British Jewry but was now a “jewel in the crown”.