Camp Simcha raises £1.85m to support children’s mental health
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Camp Simcha raises £1.85m to support children’s mental health

Jewish charity announces ambitious plans to support families of children suffering from a serious mental health condition at gala dinner

Family members of children supported by the charity, posing with Camp Simcha presidents Jonathan and Sharon Goldstein and dinner chair Michelle Shemtob  (Credit: Grainge Photography)
Family members of children supported by the charity, posing with Camp Simcha presidents Jonathan and Sharon Goldstein and dinner chair Michelle Shemtob (Credit: Grainge Photography)

Camp Simcha raised £1.85million at a sumptuous dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair on Monday to support children with a serious mental condition.

Nearly 1,000 guests filed in for a sparkling reception and dinner in the Great Room, which was decorated in the style of a circus tent with colourful ceiling drapes and balloons.

Children’s entertainers, including mimes and clowns, were scattered across the room, and LBC presenter Nick Ferrari helped lead a silent auction.

Camp Simcha’s president Jonathan Goldstein announced the plans to support families of children suffering from a serious mental health condition such as OCD, anxiety or eating disorders.

He said: “This extension of our services will be done professionally and safely but I stress again, that Camp Simcha will work hand in hand with colleagues in the other key agencies; maximising support for families but minimising duplication.”

The charity, which fell slightly short of its £2 million target, will initially support a pilot group of families who have a child who has been hospitalised or on extended school absence as a result of their mental health condition.

Clinical psychologist Karen Millett who has worked with Camp Simcha during the consultation said: “When a child’s mental health condition has become so severe that they are hospitalised or off school, parents become understandably absorbed in the care of that child.

“Often parents say to me they are really worried about the impact on the sibling.

“With physical conditions, there is often a clear treatment path, however this is not always the case with children with serious mental health difficulties.

“In addition, families may be coping with the shock and the stigma they sometimes feel is attached.”

Guests at the dinner also heard from parents, siblings and grandparents of families currently supported by Camp Simcha.

Among them was Eli Sassoon, pictured above, younger brother to David who was diagnosed with Lissencephaly, and suffers from suffers from serious epileptic fits.

He told guests: “My parents have done an incredible job caring for David throughout his life, but our childhood has been spent in the company of doctors, nurses and carers.

“Camp Simcha gave me back some of the parts of my childhood I felt I was missing out on, the normal things other kids get to take for granted, and they gave my parents vital opportunities to take a breath.”

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