A Labour supporter and philanthropist, Sir Trevor, 72, was approached by the new Conservative mayor Boris Johnson to head the fund, which will tap private wealth to help tackle London’s social problems.
He officially took up the reins last week. The president of UJIA, Sir Trevor has said he will draw upon his experience working for the JIA — now UJIA — on its earlier Project Renewal scheme to renew and rebuild the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Dimona, to help improve London.
He said: “At that time, Ashkelon was the worst city in Israel. We first went there in 1978 and it was appalling. But we went there and we changed that town. We changed it with people, as much as with money.
“We empowered people to help themselves and, in my opinion, that’s the issue. I think these deprived boroughs [in London] have lost their sense of community. Communities aren’t tens of thousands of people. Communities are a few hundred people. I think it’s very important to empower people to help themselves.
“We have to change peoples’ expectations.
“I think I have been through this sort of experience before on a much smaller scale and so far — because I recount that story from time to time — no one has said to me ‘this is different’, because people are people,” said Sir Trevor, the former chair of RAC. He ranked 14 in the JC’s Power 100 list of the most influential Jews in the UK.
Other trustees so far confirmed as members of the fund include: hedge-fund manager Stanley Fink, the outgoing deputy chairman of Man Group, who is also Jewish; Lesley King-Lewis, joint chief executive of substance-abuse charity Action on Addiction; fundraiser Wasfi Kani; and Sir John Beckwith, who established property company the London and Edinburgh Trust.