Committed locals

21 Dec 2016

Volunteers and donors are vital to Jewish Care’s success. But lesser known are the local fundraising committees which provide us with indispensable resources.

Over 150 dedicated volunteers are involved in the 20 local fundraising committees responsible for organising a variety of events and activities to support Jewish Care resources. As the community fundraiser for Jewish Care, Sarah-Jane Burstein is the point of contact for committees. She told Careline: “The committees are a huge part of the Jewish Care family and are indispensable to us. I support the committees with their events, working alongside our in-house marketing team and discussing with the committee the allocation of funds they raise”.

While some committees are connected to specific homes or centres, others raise funds more generally.

“The committee members are incredible people dedicated to supporting Jewish Care,” said Sarah-Jane, who has set up four new committees since undertaking the role this year.

Cyril Marks set up one of the organisation’s longest standing committees, the Friends of Lady Sarah Cohen House, he spends much of his time planning the year’s fundraising activities.

He said: “My late wife was in the home when it opened 20 years ago, so that’s when I got involved. When she was alive I went every day and I still go most days –it’s my second home.”

Each year Cyril and his committee produce a calendar of events. Highlights include a quiz, a garden fete and a Chanukah raffle, all of which boost the home’s budget.

Just like Cyril, Barry Bloombaum and his wife Linda became involved in committee fundraising by way of thanks to Jewish Care for the support they provided Linda’s mother. They joined the Options Committee which they now co-chair with Andrea Kaplin. Through a range of events from stageing annual supper quizzes, regular bridge tournaments, jazz evenings and sponsored walks held over the last 35 years they have raised in excess of £250,000 for Jewish Care.

“Most of us are still involved,” said Andrea. “We’ve been together so long that a lot of us are friends, that said we are always looking to recruit new blood”.

Also looking for new blood is Martin Warren the chairman of the Challenge Committee. Since its inception 25 years ago, the committee has paid for a computers, wheelchair ramps, holiday funds and much more. As a result Martin has got to know many Jewish Care clients – particularly at Sidney Corob House, which he visits regularly.

The committee, which meets monthly, organises an annual tea dance, guided walk, and a third event which next year will be a film screening.

Six of the original founders are still actively involved, yet Martin is always happy to hear from new members.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction in what we do because we help people in need and we have a lot of social interaction along the way”

Not all of the local committees are so well established. Sue de Botton and her father Sid Denbin are part of a recently formed new committee established by long time Jewish Care supporter Cecil Landsman. A forth member Raphael Harris completes the current Clore Manor committee.

Sue became involved after her mother moved into the Jewish Care home last year as a way of showing their support and gratitude to the home in Hendon.

Their first event – a Chanukah sale – takes place next month and features mugs and keyrings created from residents’ artwork. “It’s very informal but well organised,” said Sue. “We want to raise the profile of the home and fundraise at the same time. My mum’s there and my Dad visits every day so it makes sense to help where we can.”

The largest annual event staged by a local committee is the Princess Alexandra Family Fun Day, an event that transforms the grounds of the home into an action packed day with fun fair rides, food and entertainment. This year’s event was attended by over 1,500 people raising £20,000 for the Stanmore home.

Marilyn Albert has been involved for three years. She said: “All the members are very friendly and we work together well,” said Marilyn.

“And as my mum is in the home, I get to see where the money is spent which is great.” With plans to redevelop this home, the committee are thinking laterally about next year’s event.

Committee Chair Brian Eisenberg commented “Our big challenge is that with the redevelopment of the home we are unable to host the event in the grounds this year. We’re currently considering things to do so that we can hang on to that date in the calendar and continue to raise funds.”

His words demonstrate the enthusiasm, energy and commitment of those involved in local committees. Something that doesn’t go unnoticed by Jewish Care’s Director of Fundraising Daniel Carmel-Brown; “These are volunteers who off their own back organise great activities and events that not only bring people of all ages across the community together but also provide vital funds to support the work of Jewish Care. They bring so much to the community and for that we are eternally grateful”.

Our diary dates on the next page provide’s information about some of the events local fundraising committees are planning over the next few months.

If you are interested in setting up a local fundraising committee or joining an existing one we would love to hear from you. Call Sarah-Jane on 020 8922 2816 or email sjburstein@jcare.org