Redbridge Jewish Community Centre celebrates first 50 years11 Dec 2019
Jewish Care celebrated the first 50 years of Redbridge Jewish Community Centre (RJCC) with the Worshipful Mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Zulfiqar Hussain. Speakers at the celebration all shared their pride in the successes of the RJCC, which has been central to the community and thanked all those who have made the unique community centre what it is today.
Jewish Care’s Chairman, Steven Lewis, said, “I would like to thank everyone involved in the centre’s past, present and future, from the youngest to the oldest, who make Redbridge JCC a lifeline to the local community.
“The dedication of the staff and 420 volunteers, including lay leaders, youth leaders, fundraisers and Advisory Board members, ensures the centre can continue to provide high quality services and a programme which moves to meet the changing needs of the community. We are looking forward to serving and supporting the local community for many years to come.”
Daniel Carmel-Brown, Jewish Care’s Chief Executive, who grew up—and still lives—in Redbridge, is one of the many leaders at Jewish Care and in the wider community who has participated in RJCC’s youth leadership programme, known today as the MIKE youth leadership programme.
He said, “RJCC has played a role in my life for 30 years, and together with all of you (and many not with us today), I am proud to have played a part in shaping three of the five decades that the centre has been in existence for; I am proud to still call Redbridge my home. RJCC is unique; a community centre in the truest sense, literally from the youngest of children to wise older members of the community, and now home to an exemplary home care service and social work team too.”
Daniel went on to praise the dedicated staff and volunteers who have played a vital role in caring for the community and providing a stimulating, vibrant centre which sees those from across the generations through its doors, morning to night.
He said, “Volunteering has always been at the heart of the centre’s success, and this place is proud of such a wonderful volunteer workforce,” as well as, “the numerous fundraising committees, especially the RAGS committee, which, for 50 years, has been the one of the most successful fundraising committees in the country, raising literally millions of pounds.”
Jewish Care Trustee, Gayle Klein, spoke at the celebration, sharing her own personal journey from joining the centre as a playcentre member at the age of four. She said, “This centre has always been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s quite unique as it’s used by every age range. Many people from both the past and present at RJCC have shaped me as a person and my affection for this place, as well as developing my personal commitment to the Jewish community and communal life.”
President of the RJCC, Phillip Leigh, looked back to the start of the centre. He said, “50 years ago, Dr Sidney Gold, a local GP, and Bernard Sinclair, a pharmacist who had a dispensary in Stepney, recognised that there was a generation of people marrying and moving from the East End and settling in Ilford. Sinclair House opened on 4 May 1969, and in 1997 we merged with Jewish Care, enabling us to continue our work in Redbridge and Essex. It was the vision of the people that got us to this place and we, of course, thank them and their families for ensuring that the Redbridge Jewish Community had a purpose and future.”