Watch on Sky or Freeview: Welfare charity putting its appeal 
on TV

The Fed in Manchester breaks new ground with a 30-minute prime-time presentation on Sunday


Online crowdfunders have become a staple of the pandemic era, helping communal charities generate essential income in the absence of physical events. But on Sunday evening, Manchester Jewry’s main welfare provider, The Fed, will take things to a new level with a 30 minute broadcast on national TV.

Available on Sky and Freeview, The F Word will be hosted by BBC presenter Hugh Ferris and feature contributions from the charity’s leaders, Manchester politicians and the Chief Rabbi. Its centerpiece is a nine minute film, Not Alone, set around a poem by Mancunian Tony “Longfella” Walsh and narrated by Holly-oaks actor Ashley Margolis.

The poem covers the struggles Jews faced when settling in Manchester, their contribution to the city’s life, the role The Fed has played in supporting them for 150-plus years and why its work is now needed more than ever.

Like many charities, The Fed has faced mounting costs through the pandemic in meeting the increasing demand for its services.

Fundraising and marketing director Raphi Bloom told the JC that pre-Covid, it needed to raise £1.3 million from the community annually after statutory and other funding to balance the books.

The Fed’s share of an emergency appeal launched with Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson at the start of the pandemic had helped it through 2020. But this year, it needed to find around £2 million from the community and he hoped the innovative broadcast would bring in at least half of that.

Putting it bluntly: “If we do not raise this money, Jewish people in our Manchester community will suffer — and in some cases die. It is as stark as that.”

Beyond its Heathlands complex, The Fed supports one-in-eight Jewish homes in and around Manchester, equating to 1,400 households.

Not all are in traditional Jewish areas, Mr Bloom citing examples of clients in places such as Warrington and Knutsford.

Around 1,800 people are supported directly at any time — and double that number indirectly.

The charity is now dealing annually with 2,000 cases of mental health issues, 3,500 calls to its helpline and 42 cases of domestic abuse. It also assists 33 Holocaust survivors. “A lot of our work we can’t show because of confidentiality.”

In addition, more than 1,500 essential food parcels have been distributed.

Some 26,500 hours of volunteering have been carried out by 550 people.

Mr Bloom acknowledged the success of the communal fundraisers organised on digital platforms. But not everyone had access to the technology. There were often connectivity problems and viewing by phone or laptop was not ideal.

“My 85-year-old mother-in-law doesn’t have YouTube or Facebook. But she can watch this in comfort in front of her television. We are widening out the base to as many people as possible.”

And while some major fundraisers have been from national charities with a Manchester element to their work, The Fed was a local charity, “relying mostly on our own community to support us.

“More people than ever need our help due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on their lives. And people are going to feel that impact for a long, long time to come. The community has got to get behind us and stay there if we are going to remain the Manchester Jewish community’s safety net.”


The F Word will be broadcast on May 9 at 8.30pm on Sky Channel 676 and Channel 90 (Manchester) and 271 (nationwide) on Freeview

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