Jewish Care redeploy staff and volunteers in mass to support isolated

22 Mar 2020


Whilst care staff are working hard to protect, care for and keep residents safe across Jewish Care homes and independent living apartments, central office staff and volunteers are being redeployed to support older, isolated and housebound members of the community.

Jewish Care Senior Marketing Coordinator, Natalie Jones, has a new role as a telephone befriender whilst members of the human resources team are ready to connect residents’ in care homes with their relatives online.

Linda De Rose, who has been volunteering for 20 years as a befriender, is now calling the clients she previously visited at home for a chat, to provide friendship and support.

Linda says, “These are unprecedented and difficult times we find ourselves in, but it is very warming how the Jewish community has rallied round.  I’m now calling my befriending clients that I was visiting at home and my list is getting longer.

“I would say to everyone that it’s a privilege to be befriending and it’s as good for you to talk as it is as for people who are lonely.  It’s important that we take care of ourselves too and I make sure I put my lipstick on every day, even though I’m not going out!”

Linda who is a befriender now keeps in touch with older members of the community on the iPad and phone now.Staff are being redeployed to assist the need across the Jewish Care community, supporting chefs who are working around the clock to prepare hot and frozen kosher Meals on Wheels and to deliver them to the housebound, isolated older members of the community.

Sharon Imber, Programme Coordinator at Jewish Care’s Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, has been redeployed to work in the kitchen. As well as assisting with preparing food, she is packing and labelling meals, whilst her colleagues are taking orders for meals on the phone. Sharon says, “In times like these we all do whatever it takes to keep our essential services running and I’m happy to be able to help.”

Activity Coordinator at Redbridge Jewish Community Centre redeployed to Meals on Wheels

Other staff members are going in to care homes to keep residents’ company and chat with them, so that care assistants can focus on the more care specific parts of their roles.

Graphic Designer, Lauren Akehurst, will be at Lady Sarah Cohen House this week and has an iPad ready to help digitally connect residents through Skype and Face Time with their relatives who are unable to visit them at the moment.

Janice Krieger’s whose father, Simeon, is a resident at Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff Home in Golders Green, says, “It was very helpful and comforting for my brothers, Rob, Dan and I to be able to use WhatsApp video call with Dad during a very difficult time and we thank Rosa, the Care Manager for arranging it.”

Ffion Roberts, Electronic Care Plan Implementation Manager has been redeployed to assist care teams. She says, “I’ve made a few Face Time calls today to relatives who have communicated their worry. It is so rewarding to see the smiles on everyone’s faces once they have chatted. The residents and relatives are so grateful. It’s absolutely made my day to be able to do this and offer a little bit of light to people in dark times.”

Younger volunteers are also playing their part in bringing a smile to care home resident’s faces. Moriah School children have sent imaginative stories and poems online to keep the resident’s feeling positive. Residents of Jewish Care’s Sidney Corob House for people with mental health needs in West Hampstead have received cards by young volunteers whilst young participants of Jewish Care’s Bnei Mitzvah programme have also begun to send positive messages through films and emails to residents at The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre.

Daniel Carmel-Brown said, “Words cannot convey how appreciative we are of the tireless work and dedication our care teams and chefs are putting in around the clock to protect and keep safe our residents. We are so proud of all of them and want to say a huge thank you.

“I also want to thank all our staff who are being redeployed, volunteers and supporters who have reached out in so many ways and those who have come forward to offer help. We will ensure that that we make the best use of the time and the skills that you have offered to us to support our residents and the community.”