There is a huge crisis facing Jewish families in the UK, with over 250 families needing access to essential services including advocacy with the police for victims of domestic abuse, supervised contact handover for children of divorced parents and social services intervention for urgent crisis.
There is also a core need for a culturally-appropriate place for children to meet with friends, get support for single mothers and mothers with autistic children or who are on child protection plans; families where parents are struggling with mental and emotional health and financial issues.
In response to this need, the London Jewish Family Centre (LJFC) has opened a new and expanded facility in Temple Fortune, and is spearheading a campaign to solve this growing crisis.
“Many families want a culturally-appropriate place to come and meet their friends,” said Sandy Weinbaum, founder and director of the LJFC.
“The recent closure of social service facilities and shortage of social workers has magnified the need for help with some of the most at-risk family situations in the UK’s Jewish community. We are here to help,” she said.
The appointment of Mrs Miriam Coleman as Head of the Family Support Team, and Manager of the Social Work Services has taken our Service to a new level of excellence, she said. “We hope to be able to increase the Team further with funds from this year’s fundraising campaign.”
The London Jewish Family Centre originally opened in 1999 in Golders Green, and its new location was officially opened on Tuesday 17th May in its beautiful new premises at The Old Sorting Office, St Georges Road, NW11.
The event, in the presence of the Mayor of Barnet, Cllr. Alison Cornelius, was an opportunity to showcase the facilities the Centre offers for its Family Support Services, and for the dedication of the Children’s Therapy Room by the Kushner family in memory of Hayley Kushner.
In addition, the Climbing Wall and new Play Equipment was dedicated by the Freilich Family in memory of a beloved grandmother, Mindi Smith.
“We are launching the Centre’s crowdfunding campaign which will take place at the end June, to help continue and grow these essential services. Right now there is no government funding, and our services are run entirely on donations. We would like to raise £200,000 to allow these services to continue and provide essential help to Jewish families in London who face incredibly great challenges,” said Sandy Weinbaum.
In addition, the Centre is looking to spread awareness of its other services, which include Adult and Child Therapy; emotional support; advocacy with Social Services, the Police and Schools; court mandated Contact and handover facilities and legal advocacy. All of this has increased in the wake of covid and beyond.
Sandy Weinbaum said “the Centre has reached a watershed moment where the community can see and understand the scope of the Family Support Services run by the Centre. “We are grateful for peoples’ support, and your donations are helping save lives,” she said.