Volunteers celebrated at Jewish Care Awards 2016

25 Jul 2016

The commitment and dedication of Jewish Care’s volunteers were recognised at the Betty and Aubrey Lynes annual celebration of volunteering at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in Friern Barnet.

Jewish Care Volunteers Film 2016

Chairman, Steven Lewis opened the evening by paying tribute to those receiving awards as well as the army of 3,000 volunteers of all ages. Steven Lewis commented; “Tonight is an opportunity for us to showcase the breadth of volunteer’s contribution whilst recognising that this is just a snapshot of the work that volunteers undertake each and every day in the world of Jewish Care”. 

Compering the evening and presenting awards, comedian and writer, Ivor Baddiel said; “It’s been said a million times, but I’m going to say it again, the work you do is so vital and brilliant and Jewish Care really couldn’t manage without you, so thank you so much…in an increasingly uncertain world, what you do shows that all we really need is a bit of kindness, compassion and of course, caring.”

Ivor was describing the unsung heroes like Hermi Goodman and Sheila Lee who between them have clocked up 42 years of volunteering and visit The Leonard Sainer Centre for people living with dementia in Edgware each week. Hermi, volunteer of 22 years and Sheila, volunteer of 20 years, run a range of meaningful, engaging activities for clients around music, dancing and reminiscence. Hermi, who is a grandmother of four, says, “I started volunteering once my children flew the nest because I wanted to do something meaningful to enhance my life. Jewish Care is like a big family and it is wonderful to be a part of that family and make the day a happy one for older members of the community.

Hermi continues, “Receiving the award with my friend Shirley makes it more special – we’ve volunteered together for more than 20 years. It’s a privilege to have such amazing clients and hear their incredible stories from the past.”

Sheila adds “It’s been a very special evening. I love doing the work, I love the people, it’s a fabulous centre and have as much fun volunteering there as the clients have coming to the sessions.”

Winner of the young volunteer award, presented by Ninette Levy was 16 year old Joseph Malinsky, who has just completed his GCSE’s at the Wren Academy and lives in Friern Barnet. For the past two years Joseph has been volunteering at Lady Sarah Cohen House visiting the residents each week to help with Kiddush and with the services on Shabbat morning. Joseph says, “It’s really exciting to win this award. I started volunteering as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award but I enjoyed it so much I continued after the six month programme came to an end. I like helping the residents and being able to give something back.”

Also using her skills to suit volunteering opportunities, 23 year old Isla Horesh from Cricklewood who works in a busy medical company, has volunteered for 18 months teaching IT skills every week to the young residents of Jack Gardner House for people with mental health needs. Winner of the innovative and creative individual award, and inspired by both her parents who have also volunteered for Jewish Care, Isla says, “I enjoy volunteering and befriending at the home as it’s a great way to give something back. It’s been good to get to know the residents and support them to use iPads to download apps relating to their interests as well as enrich their everyday lives by connecting on Facetime with family and friends across the world.

The 70-strong meals on wheels team from Redbridge Jewish Community Centre received the outstanding relationship group award for delivering so much more than just hot meals to vulnerable people in the community. They are out every day in all weathers offering a therapeutic and befriending service to many in need of our services and they nourish our community.

Amongst the group collecting the award on behalf of the Meals on Wheels volunteers was Sid Green who began volunteering for the service 10 years ago when ill health forced him to stop working; “It’s so worthwhile, my short visits bring happiness. I like making people feel good. I have made friendships with those I deliver meals so and I call them up from time to check in on them, see how they are”.

The Jewish Studies team and Year 8 teachers at JCoSS teachers received an award for a group outside of the organisation for facilitating an intergenerational programme with Jewish Care’s Connect@ centre in Southgate for independent, older people.The teachers have supported 90 children to volunteer in school hours at the to help the students build confidence and sense of social responsibility during their bar/bat mitzvah year and has been a great success with the members of the Centre who enjoy welcoming the young people each week.

Ann Zinkin, who began by volunteering at the Connect@ Centre and is now responsible for quality assurance at all the Centres, was the winner of the individual contribution to local management award. On winning the award, Ann said, “I feel very honoured, I worked in quality assurance professionally so it’s something I’ve always done. I really enjoy volunteering, it’s a privilege and I’m happy to keep doing more and more.”

A group of volunteers, who won the group award for innovation and creativity have used their musical talents to set up The Cobham Singers Choir from Southend & Westcliff Community Centre. One of the group, Jackie Davis, said, “We’re so pleased to win the award. When we heard about the benefits of singing we decided to set up the choir. It connects everyone involved and is something positive that makes them feel valued and gives them a sense of belonging and purpose and it’s such good fun.”

Patsy Bloom and Susie James accepted the outstanding fundraisers award on behalf of the Jewish Care Bridge Committee in recognition of their dedication in raising £1.5million to date with the annual Bridge Extravaganza, as it approaches its 20th year.  Elizabeth Israel who has also dedicated many years of service to Jewish Care’s HOPE outings was among the eight people who were made volunteer patrons for going beyond the call of duty and being an integral part of Jewish Care.

Jewish Care chief executive Simon Morris said, “Tonight’s awards have shown us all a snapshot of the breadth of the work you and the rest of our volunteers undertake and its impact across the organisation.  We could not provide the services we do without you.

“Volunteering has evolved across the sector over the last decade in particular, and we understand more about motivations and needs of volunteers. We are working hard to ensure we can provide all of our volunteers with meaningful roles that match their interests, skills and requirements so that volunteers have a real purpose and sense of worth within the organisation.  As always, we would love to welcome new volunteers into the organisation

“We’d like to thank the Lynes family for sponsoring the evening and Ninette Levy and her grandchildren, for joining us tonight. Your parents Betty and Aubrey Lynes embody so much of the chessed that volunteering encompasses.”  

View the photos from the 2016 Volunteer Awards on Facebook

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