Norwood raises more than £3 million as chief pays tribute to 'soul saving' charity

Fine family, whose son is cared for in Norwood's residential system, says charity has 'given us a life'


A couple whose son is cared for by children and families charity Norwood have explained how its support “gave us our life back”.

James Fine, a 37-year-old with developmental difficulties, was featured in the appeal video at Norwood’s annual dinner, held on Monday at Grosvenor House in London’s West End. More than 1,200 people attended, contributing  £3.2 million to the charity’s coffers.

Mr Fine has lived in Norwood’s residential system since he was 21, currently residing in its Old Church Lane property in Stanmore.

“James is very happy,” his mother, Janet, told the JC. “They live like a family at Norwood. The staff are so well trained. The house manager and the carers are brilliant.

“He is with his group. He says he has two homes — our home and Old Church Lane. We are so lucky. It’s given us a life too.”

His father, Jeff, added: “He wasn’t happy until he got to Norwood. I don’t think any other community does this.”

Addressing her first Norwood dinner, new chief executive Beverley Jacobson said she had first-hand experience of “Norwood’s soul-saving support”.

The charity has assisted her family since her daughter, now 24, sustained extensive brain damage at birth.

It had “initially empowered me to cope, later enabled me to help my daughter thrive and ultimately fuelled me with a passion to help others in difficulty.

“Norwood is about all of our children and all their families, because whatever challenges face your child impact on the whole family. I will work tirelessly to ensure that no member of our community is left to struggle on their own.”

Entertainment was from Lee Ridley, a comedian with cerebral palsy known as Lost Voice Guy, who won Britain’s Got Talent this year.

There was also a video message from Simon Cowell praising the work of the charity, which supports more than 4,000 people annually.

Around £12 million of its £34 million operating costs are met by voluntary contributions.

Lady Nicola Mendelsohn, joint president of Norwood, said that when visiting its services, she was “deeply moved by everything the charity does.

“At its heart, it is about the responsibility of individuals and the power of community. And of being a family — a family that ensures no one gets left behind or forgotten."

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