Major changes to the structure of the League of Jewish Women will give a greater say to the grassroots membership.
Addressing its 69th AGM in central London, LJW president Marilyn Brummer explained that the new council forum would partly comprise the league executive plus committee chairs. However, local group chairs would also be invited and would be encouraged to bring along additional representatives.
Vice-president Yvonne Brent highlighted the “astounding” variety of work undertaken by members. For example, the Way Ahead was a southern project inspired by the award-winning Headstart LJW scheme at Manchester’s Christie Hospital for chemotherapy patients who have lost their hair.
The Way Ahead not only works at a number of hospitals but also organises home visits.
Paying tribute to project co-ordinator Estelle Morris, she added: “It is to her credit that the LJW volunteers were asked to take part in the Great Lengths, a pilot scheme which has the backing of NCAT [National Cancer Action Team]. The project took workshops offering wigs, wig-cutting, cosmetics and headwear demonstrations to patients at hospitals in Leeds and Oxford.”
Reflecting the need to bring in younger members, a new group for mothers with young children has been meeting at Jewish Care’s Golders Green campus. “We need to attract younger women because they will look at volunteering in a different light and will use technology to our advantage,” Ms Brent said.
Twenty-six league branches are involved in welfare work for the elderly, 25 volunteer in hospitals, 19 are engaged in services for children and five help in prisons and the courts.