I really am grateful to you for still being there for me and organising extra support… especially since the rest of the world shut down…it really gives me something to live for. During the four weeks that my son and I were isolated in hospital, the meals sent were literally a lifesaver … knowing someone is thinking about us made me cry happy tears.”
“The doorstep chats make me feel that someone is there for me, that someone will know if anything is wrong. It makes me feel loved and cared about.” “During Covid they went over and above looking after my son – keyworkers put their lives on hold to make sure he could cope during isolation.”
These are the words of a handful of the 15,000 people immensely grateful for the care provided by 20 charities that urgently need your support. While we tentatively emerge from the initial period of the crisis, there are still many vulnerable groups increasingly relying on community care and support services. The JLC Social Care Assistance Fund is supporting organisations working across the UK and with people across the religious spectrum.
As the expressions of gratitude above show, these valiant organisations have continued delivering vital care, in person wherever possible, and through innovative online programming and activities.
Aside from the lost income from cancelled events and closed charity shops, to deliver this care our grantees have faced huge, unexpected costs. These include more than £900,000 on specialist staff to replace ill or isolating staff and for hundreds of additional hours of specialist care, physical therapy, and counselling.
More than £850,000 has been spent on personal protective equipment (PPE), hygiene, and cleaning; £75,000 on technology so vulnerable people can access support (including over 200 people who did not have equipment or internet connection); and £80,000 for emergency grants and delivering food to sick or lonely people cut off from community centres and group activities.
We are likely to be just at the beginning of this crisis. We hope for a soft economic landing, but we must plan for a harder one. The economic cost to the country, to our community and to our beloved institutions could be of a scale not seen for 70 years.
Many will have lost their jobs or faced reduced income, preventing them from being as generous as they once were.
The immediate additional costs and staggering projected losses have exacerbated long-standing challenges facing the financial sustainability of the Jewish charitable sector. Rightly, our fund and the community’s priorities are on meeting immediate needs. Work on coordination, collaboration and indeed consolidation – that honestly, I and the JLC had hoped to make more progress on – will need to be expanded and expedited.
None of this will be easy, yet changes taking place pre-pandemic give me hope that our community can make the brave decisions and take the bold action needed to sustain diverse Jewish life. Examples include the mergers of Heathlands Village and The Fed in Manchester, the strategic partnership between Jami and Jewish Care, and the research-led strategic cooperation between Kisharon, Langdon and Norwood.
The collective responsibility and collaborative leadership demonstrated throughout this crisis convince me, together with our community’s tremendous generosity, that our charities can survive this horrendous pandemic. In time, the creativity, cooperation and clarity of purpose that have guided us through this crisis can inform and inspire another period of growth and vibrancy for Jewish life across the UK.
Over the medium and longer term, I and all involved with the JLC are determined to support the whole community through recovery and hopefully into renewal.
Returning to the immediate challenge, I am urging all reading this to please join us as we seek more than the almost £1.5million raised, so that further funds desperately needed can be allocated to these 20 heroic Jewish charities. Please visit www.thejlc.org/scaf and give whatever you can.