The three largest Jewish care home providers in the UK have launched an historic joint appeal for “several million pounds” to combat the pressures posed to the elderly by the pandemic.
Jewish Care, Nightingale Hammerson and The Fed in Manchester took the extraordinary decision not to compete for reducing donations as care home costs escalate and the economy takes a battering over the coronavirus lockdown.
The trio collectively care for more than 1,000 elderly Jews, many of whom have underlying health issues, which makes them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, the potentially fatal disease caused by the virus.
The charities said their joint appeal, coordinated with the National Association of Jewish Homes, was a “landmark moment” in the history of the British Jewish community, but argued that the circumstances warranted it.
They said they were “asking the community to be there for those that need them most in their greatest hour of need,” adding that the campaign aims to raise several million pounds in order to support their vital services during the crisis.
“These extraordinary times demand an extraordinary response from all of us, including our three organisations coming together in this way,” said Daniel Carmel-Brown, chief executive of Jewish Care.
“We are doing everything possible to keep our residents safe and well in the current crisis. Our dedicated staff teams are working round the clock. We’re incredibly proud of them. We need our community to continue demonstrating their commitment too.”
The three providers have already invested heavily in personal protective equipment but said much more will soon be needed. They have also set up new technologies to help residents keep in contact with loved ones during the lockdown.
Back-office staff members have been redeployed to frontline caring roles, but more elderly patients are being discharged from hospital early to free up NHS beds, meaning the providers are being stretched to their limits.
“Never before have our care homes needed the community’s support like we do right now,” said Helen Simmons, chief executive of Nightingale Hammerson.
“We are so grateful for all the support we have received so far to help keep us going, but in these challenging times, we need more people to come forward and show their support so we can continue to care for those that need it most”.
Funds raised from the ‘Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal’ campaign, which is being supported by the Jewish Leadership Council, will be split between the three providers with 10 percent donated to smaller Jewish care homes across the UK.
“We all need additional funding in order to keep up with the needs of our staff and those we care for,” said Mark Cunningham, chief executive of The Fed.
“There is a huge gap between the funding we receive from local authorities and the actual cost of residential care. This will be put under even more pressure with hospitals needing to discharge. Between us, we need to raise several million pounds to keep our vital work going.”
Donations can be made online by visiting bit.ly/jewishhomes or by cheques being sent to Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal, 221 Golders Green Road, London NW11 9DQ. Cheques to be made payable to ‘Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal’