A new generation gets into the giving mood for welfare


Young Jewish Care supporters have raised a record £175,000 for its mental health services after learning about the growing gulf in giving between generations. The 320 guests at the young patrons dinner at The Dorchester in central London also heard emotional testimony from service user Michael Lee and mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin.

A charity spokeswoman said that 18 people had committed to pledging at least £500 annually as a young patron, bringing the total to 218.

"This is our chance to do our bit to ensure that Jewish Care can carry on supporting the community," YJC vice-chair Adino Ebrahimoff told diners. "None of us know when we may need it but we would all like to think it is there if we do."

He pointed out that the young patron minimum yearly contribution contrasted sharply with the adult patron requirement of £12,500.

"It has been raised many a time that the gulf between young patronage and patronage is too great." Young people should be giving time and money to charity, he added.

"I know you are busy people, concentrating on developing your careers, building your networks and possibly starting a family. But whether it's giving up an hour a week to volunteer or a couple of hours a month to join one of our fundraising committees, I can tell you from first-hand experience that dedicating some of your personal time to a worthy cause will enrich your life in many ways."

Guests listened intently as Mr Benjamin, 29, spoke about the mental health issues leading to his suicide attempt in 2008, a month after being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (a form of schizophrenia).

The Edgware Reform Synagogue member called for an end to the stigma surrounding mental health issues and for more government funding to help people and their families affected by mental health problems.

In an emotional appeal video, Mr Lee recalled his breakdown after his son died from a brain tumour 10 years ago. Now a resident of Jewish Care's Sidney Corob home, he spoke about getting his life back with the charity's support.

An after-party featured award-winning radio DJ Tony Perry (aka DJ TP).

The dinner proceeds will benefit Sidney Corob and another of the charity's north-west London homes for those with mental health issues, Jack Gardner House.

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