Opening of The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre25 Feb 2016
The Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State for Care and Support and the Chief Rabbi joined Jewish Care supporters to open the organisation’s latest redevelopment The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre.
The three year programme costing a total of £17 million has resulted in the creation of one of, if not the largest care communities in the UK, providing residential and day care to over 250 people every day.
The care community officially named The Betty and Asher Loftus Centre is dedicated to Betty and Asher Loftus for their ongoing support and the Loftus’s family’s generosity. Among the guests was 99 year old Betty Loftus who sat alongside her three sons, their wives, children and great grandchildren.
The Loftus family have been involved with Jewish Care for many years. Betty’s late husband Asher was instrumental in acquiring the Friern Barnet site and relocating residents from the ‘Home and Hospital for Jewish Incurables’ in Tottenham to Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House.
Speaking on behalf of the family Richard Loftus said;
“Dad put his heart and soul into this project and we are delighted we were able to bring his dream and vision into reality”.
Before paying tribute to the many people whose generosity enabled the redevelopment programme Jewish Care’s President Lord Levy addressed Betty Loftus;
“Betty you have no idea how happy I am and everyone is that you are here today, you are special to all of us. Your late husband Asher was an inspiration to me and many of us here today. His vision and his dreams have today become a reality”.
Lord Levy continued;
“This is an amazing community, it is generous and it is one that truly believes in taking care of each other whilst also being part of our wider society”.
These words were echoed in the Minister’s speech when he praised the community for their care and support of each other.
“If we are to rise to the challenges we face, taking care of older relatives and friends will need to become part of everyone’s lives. To that extent this is what Jewish Care symobolises. Your community look after each other giving older people respect and care they deserve. This is demonstrated through the wonderful philanthropy of members of the community, as well as their outstanding commitment to volunteering.”
He made mention of his earlier tour of the Centre and the feeling of warmth and compassion he saw around him; “you get a real sense of home, and the word home matters. When you know you are coming into home that’s the true test to me as a Minister that I am somewhere special”.
The Minister concluded by “speaking about something different, the role of technology”. He outlined how he felt technology provides an opportunity to transform the way people are supported in later life from a kettle which takes people’s blood pressure each morning, to video conferencing to GPs and floor sensors which could detect falls and send for help.
The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis recited a prayer to commemorate the rededication of the Wohl Synagogue in recognition of the ongoing support provided by the Wohl Foundation.
Closing the formal proceeding Jewish Care Chairman Steven Lewis paid a special tribute to the organisation’s volunteers;
“When we talk about the pillars that Jewish Care is built on, I am always mindful of the outstanding contribution of our volunteer workforce. There are many of them here today, and I would like to pay a special tribute to those who give of their time, whether as volunteers who hold Synagogue services in this very room, or as committee members for the numerous Friends of committees and the many volunteers who work in the shop or assist in providing activities – thank you for all that you do. Jewish Care would simply not exist without you”.