Welcoming back RJCC Day Centre members to in-person activities

31 Mar 2022

Balloons, banners and smiles were in abundance this week when Jewish Care welcomed the community back to Redbridge Jewish Community Day Centre activities in-person, which are now running on an interim basis from Woodford Forest United Synagogue.

Members, staff and volunteers were delighted to be reunited once again and to meet old friends and new. Many had been joining Jewish Care’s virtual activities that have taken place online, including the JC Presents programme, which regularly hosts guest speakers for members to tune in to listen to. These online virtual activities and events have grown in popularity and will continue alongside the new in-person activities on offer.

Long-time members, Joan, 85, and Sylvia, 86, were there for the first day back. They have been attending Jewish Care’s Redbridge Jewish Community Centre together for many years having done everything together since they first met in Benidorm and became friends 25 years ago. Sylvia says, “It's lovely to be amongst people again. Zoom was great, but to see everyone in person, old friends and new, is something else.”

Joan added, “You can be yourself here and it's wonderful to be back.”

Ted Leigh, 94, who came along to the Centre for the first time, says, “It's nice to get out again to socialise and relax. I wanted to get out meet new people and see old friends from the community.”

Members, volunteers and staff are now back and enjoying the day programme which includes a variety of activities including exercise classes, chair based yoga and table tennis, discussion groups, Kalooki and Rumikubb as well as art activities in preparation for Pesach, delicious Kosher lunches, time to socialise, and live music from entertainers.

Jewish Care Meals on Wheels recipient, Alan Jacobs, enjoys sport, having played rugby as well as football in his younger days for West Ham United Youth Football Club. He is a new member who came along as he was keen to have the opportunity to socialise again. Alan says, “I’ve enjoyed playing table tennis with Beverley, one of the staff. It felt good to do something active.”

Jewish Care’s JC Presents online programme and events for older people in the community will continue, along with the befriending services and Meals on Wheels.

Safety is still our priority, and Jewish Care will continue to follow a number of precautions throughout the centres to protect clients, staff and volunteers from Covid-19.

Richard Shone, Director of Community Development, said:

“It’s wonderful to see each other face to face again, we have all really missed seeing our day centre members in person. Older people at home have been isolated for so many months. Our staff and volunteers are so pleased that our 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.”

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