TV presenter Jonathan Ross joked that he felt awkward receiving a goodie bag from fundraisers at a lunch for Jewish Blind and Disabled on Wednesday: “I feel weird accepting gifts from charities.”
He told the 200-strong gathering at the Avenue Holiday Inn in Finchley that he “liked Jewish culture and I’m married to a Jewish women.
“As I got older, I realised the importance of community. What I like about so many of my Jewish friends is how important their family life is to them.”
Lorraine Duskwick, the mother of 28-year-old Joel who has cerebral palsy and has been involved with the JBD since he was 21, spoke about the support that her family receives from JBD: “In the normal run of things you finish schooling, get a job, find a partner, get married and the circle of life continues. I knew this was not going to happen so easily for Joel.
“I was told that procedures for housing people with special needs could take years, and I didn’t even know where to start. By sheer chance, someone sent me an article about JBD building four new flats in my area. JBD has given Joel the independence he so richly deserves. They saw a potential in him that others overlooked, and for that, I am eternally grateful.”
Joel Duskwick said he was enjoying the independence and was “very happy” at JBD’s Aztec House in Chigwell.
“Joel now helps other tenants with computer skills and has even got a voluntary job at Clore Tikvah school helping children to read and use a computer,” Mrs Duskwick added. “Being the youngest in the block means Joel has been adopted by many boobas!”
JBD’s Gemma Goodman said the £70,000 raised at the lunch was “absolutely fantastic. We realise that times are difficult and the support from the community has been phenomenal.”
The charity has raised £9.9 million of a required £10.6 million for a new 41 development in Bushey Heath, which is due to open in January 2013.