JW3 and LJCC set to unite in historic merger



JW3, the £50m London community centre, is to merge with the LJCC, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, based at Ivy House in Golders Green.

The merger, which has long been predicted but has been repeatedly denied by both organisations, will be completed within the year.

As yet there is no name for the new joint organisation. But both bodies are keen to maintain their identities.

The LJCC, which has a mortgage on its Ivy House site, will sell the building and profits will be used to fund the running of the new organisation, which will be housed in the year-old JW3 building.

There are expected to be significant redundancies, mainly in the back-office and administration departments of both organisations.

Even before JW3 opened in October 2013, there was a widely-held view that competition between the bodies would damage both.

But, since its opening, JW3 has had an average of 4,000 visitors every week and the LJCC — which has existed for over 30 years — has seen an increase in footfall to 2,500 a week.

Despite the organisations’ success, the drive for the merger has been financial. Dame Vivien Duffield has donated £40 million to JW3 and has always been clear that it would need to secure future funding from other donors.

With LJCC also seeking donors from the same pool, the logic behind a merger is described as “unarguable”.

Although the merger has been described by one source close to the negotiations as “blindingly obvious — it was always going to be a matter of when, not if”, formal discussions only began in July.

A team of four — Louise Jacobs, CEO of the LJCC, Raymond Simonson, CEO of JW3 and the respective chairs, Michael Marx and Michael Goldstein — agreed the structure and timetable, which received final approval from trustees on Tuesday.

Ms Jacobs is to resign when the merger is completed and will become deputy chair of the trustees of the new organisation. Mr Simonson will run the new organisation with Mr Goldstein as chair.

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