Jewish Care begins to welcome community centre members back

28 Jul 2021

Jewish Care has begun welcoming the community back in-person to its community services. The first members arrived at The Dennis Centre for people living with dementia and The Sam Beckman Centre for people living with dementia at The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre for the first time in 16 months this week, with balloons, banners and smiles all round.

From July through to October, the organisation will be carefully and safely reopening all of the dementia day centres, community centres and Connect@ services. Jewish Care’s Meals on Wheels, telephone befriending, online activities and social work and family carers support services will all also still be there to support the community.

“It’s good to be back among old friends,” says David Rom, who is a member of The Dennis Centre for people living with dementia in Ilford.

Roberta, whose husband, Henry is also a member, says, “Henry’s been looking forward to coming back. It’s been hard for everyone to be home for such a long time. It’s good to know that Henry can enjoy spending the day here and I can go and do a few things without worrying about him.”

Richard Shone, Director of Community Development, says “It’s wonderful to see each other face to face again, we have all really missed seeing our members in person.

“Whilst older people at home have been isolated for so many months, it’s been especially hard for those people who are living with dementia, many of whom find online programmes less accessible. Our staff and volunteers are so pleased that the community centres are able to reopen in-person to support older members of the community to connect, enjoy stimulating activities and socialise with one another again. We know now more than ever before, how vital that is for everyone’s wellbeing.”

Jewish Care’s JC Presents online programme and events, which are attended by hundreds of older people each week in the community will continue, along with the befriending services and Meals on Wheels.

“Members of community centres have exciting choices in the way they want to attend our activities or centres,” continues Richard, “We are also working on new ways to enable members to access activities that happen in-person, online too.”

Safety is still the priority, and the organisation will follow enhanced hygiene training and practices and regular Covid testing for staff and volunteers, who will wear masks indoors throughout the centres to protect clients, staff and volunteers.                 

Jewish Care has been working together in partnership with Ilford Federation Synagogue to reopen The Dennis Centre at the shul which is across the road from the centre’s previous home, since the site has been repurposed as the hub for Jewish Care’s Home Care services and Meals on Wheels. Since the start of the pandemic the organisation has made over 64,000 meals, which have been delivered with the help of dedicated volunteers.

“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Jewish Care, we always had the idea that we would like to be more involved with the wider community, so it’s exciting for us that The Dennis Centre will be running from the shul, to support people who are living with dementia” says David Hiller, Chair of Ilford Federation Synagogue.

Jewish Care’s Dennis Centre for people living with dementia opens one day a week initially on Tuesdays and will open two days a week. The Sam Beckman Centre for people living with dementia is based at The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in Friern Barnet, is opening on Wednesday 28 July and will be open on additional days going forward.

For more information about the reopening of Jewish Care’s community services, please contact 020 8922 2222 or helpline@jcare.org