A Monumental Moment

23 Jul 2015

Every year has its monumental moments. 1990 saw Nelson Mandela walking free having served 27 years in prison, Margaret Thatcher resigned after 11 years as Prime Minister, Germany was reunified and Jewish Care was formed...

25 years on, it’s not for me to say which of these significant events has had the greatest impact on world affairs or the lives of individuals, but I do feel confident in saying that Jewish Care has made a significant contribution to both the UK Jewish and wider social care community.

Jewish Care was formed following the amalgamation of two established communal charities; the Jewish Welfare Board and the Jewish Blind Society. Both parent organisations have a long and prominent history providing much-needed social care services to the community for over 150 years.

We have always been a community that has organised itself to ensure we are ahead of the game, planning for the future, thinking about our resources and needs. 25 years ago a group of communal leaders did exactly this, putting aside their personal positions and differences and making a bold decision based on the
needs of the community.

At the forefront of our development has been the challenge of developing quality services that are sustainable, both now and in the future. Our quest to work in partnership with others to both ensure quality services and reduce replication across the community has continued.

In the early days of Jewish Care, we joined forces with no less than seven organisations in seven years. At times this was challenging for all involved but on reflection, these mergers have helped shape the services we provide and ensured security for the smaller providers we partnered with.

We recently developed a new type of partnership to ensure we were best serving the community. A few years ago JAMI and Jewish Care were competing to provide services for those living with mental health needs. We acknowledged this was nonsensical and embarked on developing a formal partnership designed to reduce the duplication of this work whilst also creating a single community strategy to meet the growing needs of mental health services. Partnership is the key to Jewish Care’s success.

Jewish Care would not be here today without the partnership it has with its 3000 volunteers and countless supporters. The community is responsible for developing, leading and shaping its social care charity. Some 25 years since its inception, and the relationship between Jewish Care and the community is deeprooted and symbiotic, with an understanding that we both need each other. At different stages in their lives, members from across the community turn to Jewish Care for support. In return, Jewish Care relies on the community to support its services. Its work wouldn’t be possible without its volunteers and the partnership they have with professional staff, and of course its donors. Each and every one of our supporters is what makes us the organisation we are today.

As I reflect on 25 years of Jewish Care I can’t help but be proud to be at the helm of this wonderful organisation. It is one that our ancestors laid the foundations for 150 years ago and we, working in partnership across the community, have successfully evolved to meet the needs of our changing community.

1990, the creation of Jewish Care – monumental? On reflection, yes I think so!

Simon Morris, Jewish Care's chief executive.

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