Coming together to support and sustain our community organisations

The chief executive and vice chair of the JLC write on what people can do to help others

March 19, 2020 15:28

Along with everyone across our community, in the UK and around the world, we are concerned about the health and wellbeing of those we love, live and work with.

We hope all those who are most at risk from developing serious health problems if they contract Covid-19 have the support they need at this time.

Together with the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council has brought together the CEOs of our communal organisations. Our two organisations and leaders across the community are working together to share resources and support each other as we all adapt to this evolving situation.

Within the Jewish Leadership Council, there are many supporters of numerous communal organisations and givers to a range of charities. As Chief Executive and Vice Chair, we are concerned about the immediate and longer-term impact on organisations that provide vital services.

Many of you will be aware that a number of charities have had to take the difficult decision to cancel events that generate significant fundraising income for their important work. Organisations are facing disruptions due to staff and volunteers not being able to work, widespread restrictions and social distancing measures.

Plenty hope to provide their staff with more than statutory sick pay during expected extended periods of leave.

None of us know how long this situation will continue or the total and longer-term consequences of the pandemic and associated economic challenges. It is prudent to plan for the additional support many will need later this year and beyond and the JLC is working with communal partners to consider how and when we can respond to these longer-term challenges. Nevertheless, there are steps we can all take now to offer immediate reassurance and assistance to the organisations at the heart of our communities.

For those who are regular supporters of charities and have giving planned for later this year, please consider how giving earlier may alleviate the immediate and additional pressures many charities are facing.

For those who were due to attend charity dinners and events, please still consider making the donation you would have done at the event.

For those who usually direct their donations to particular projects or ring fence their giving, please consider being more flexible. The additional costs from recent disruptions and the aspiration to support staff during forced time away or off work are core costs. Charity CEOs need as much flexibility as possible as they adapt to this evolving crisis.

If you have expertise in Human Resources, remote working or IT that could be useful as charities respond to disruptions and change, please reach out and share best practice.

Maybe you have extra time without your commute and can volunteer, perhaps as a befriender calling or connecting with people disconnected from community life.

All of us can be in touch with the staff and volunteers our community rely on to offer any assistance we can. We should all express our gratitude to the thousands of staff who are on the front line caring for more vulnerable people and keeping places clean and the people we work with safe and healthy.

Please give flexibly - not just your money but your time, your expertise and your networks. For those of you who have not regularly supported but would like to offer some support at this time, it would be gratefully received.

Recent events have seen local groups turning strangers into neighbours as they offer support to older people or those self-isolating.

We hope alongside all you are doing to support your nearest and dearest, we can come together to meet the additional challenges facing our community and support and sustain our communal organisations.

Simon Johnson is the Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council

Debbie Fox is the Vice Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council

March 19, 2020 15:28

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