Manchester's four city centre hospitals once again have a Shabbat facility for Jewish patients and families.
A Shabbat room in the Manchester Royal Infirmary was closed during a £500 million redevelopment of the hospitals which was completed in 2009. It has been replaced by a multi-faith centre located on the ground floor of the Royal Infirmary site.
But it has taken over a year to arrange a separate kosher kitchen, accessible via a key-coded gate within the multi-faith room. In the intervening period, a padlocked box housed Jewish prayer books and cold kosher drinks.
The new kitchen will offer hot and cold drinks and refrigerated food. It is particularly aimed at shomer Shabbat visitors, who are a two hour-plus walk from north Manchester Jewish communities. For example, it will help parents who stay in the Children's Hospital, now the UK's largest paediatrics facility.
Yochanan Roitenbarg, the local organiser for the Ezra Umarpeh (Help and Recover) charity, which funds Shabbat facilities in UK hospitals, expressed gratitude to the hospital authorities. "They understood our needs but it took a long time to get this organised."