The secret is out... MI5 and GCHQ do Mitzvah Day

On the initiative of Jewish employee, intelligence agencies collect for sporting charity


They’ve kept it quiet until now. And no photos will be released. But staff at intelligence agencies MI5 and GCHQ have spent the past month collecting sporting clothing for disadvantaged and disabled young people as a Mitzvah Day activity.

Part of the agencies’ commitment to diversity and inclusion, the initiative brought in more than 30 sacks of sports clothes, footwear and equipment for the Lord’s Taverners.

The idea was proposed by a Jewish member of staff at MI5, who got the multi-faith group from across the agency involved. It spiralled from there to include all other networks across the two agencies.

“This was a very rewarding project to work on and we were thrilled by the response from our staff, who contributed so generously,” an MI5 spokesperson said.

“Although many had never heard of Mitzvah Day before, it struck a chord and really did bring together people of all faiths and none in a show of unity to help wider society.”

Mitzvah Day chief executive Georgina Bye, communications consultant Simon Rothstein and Lord’s Taverners’ partnerships executive Richard Cook met representatives from both agencies.

Ms Bye said “it was eye-opening to find out just how committed they are to supporting staff in projects [such as] Mitzvah Day.

“We look forward to maintaining this partnership for many years — especially as they collected such a staggering amount of clothing and equipment.”

Lord’s Taverners’ chief executive Paul Robin added: “One of the main barriers for children wanting to play sport is a simple lack of equipment. But thanks to MI5, GCHQ and everyone connected with Mitzvah Day, more young people will now be able to enjoy the benefits.”

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