Community virus fund launched to help those suffering impact of lockdown

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Community virus fund launched to help those suffering impact of lockdown

Jewish Leadership Council and Work Avenue's initiative seeks to help people and families impacted by Covid-19 with initial £250,000 in the pot

Jewish philanthropists have pitched in to launch a dramatic coronavirus fund with an initial £250,000 and more if needed for community members suffering the effects of lockdown.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Work Avenue launched the fund to provide financial assistance to people and families directly affected by the virus and the measures introduced to reduce its spread.

The fund is designed to help those who are ineligible for Government support or who face delays accessing Government funds, and comes after Jewish News this week revealed how self-employed Jews were “falling through the cracks”.

As a coalition of the largest Jewish charities in the UK, with regional managers working alongside the representative councils in Leeds, Manchester and Scotland, the JLC said it was “well-placed to connect, coordinate and add capacity”.

It is partnering Finchley-based employment and business charity Work Avenue because it “has the experience and expertise to administer this fund” which was “open to everyone in the community whose employment or earnings have been directly affected by COVID-19”.

The JLC said there had been a “swift and hugely generous response” from philanthropists ahead of Pesach enabling the fund to launch with an initial £250,000 but more if needed.

Contributors include The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, The Max Barney Foundation, The Wohl Legacy, Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, The Bloom Foundation, The Goldstein Family, Genesis Philanthropy Group and Investream Charitable Trust.

JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein said: “The world as we know it has changed. What has not changed are the acts of Chesed [charity] that we so often see amongst our wonderful community. Small acts of kindness, often between strangers, have transformational power.

“In a time of great uncertainty and discomfort, I am proud the JLC is coordinating and contributing to the many ways our community is striving to alleviate some of the challenges all across our community are facing.”

Work Avenue chair Mark Morris said people faced difficulties “through no fault of their own,” adding that “whilst the Government has announced measures and packages of support some will fall through the gaps or face delays in accessing it”.

He said: “I am proud that we are working to provide immediate assistance so that families can cover essential expenses in the coming months.”

David Davidi-Brown, JLC director of community strategy, said the fund would provide “a much needed uplifting response to this terrible virus… It is ensuring we can deliver quicker and increased support.”

Debbie Sheldon, CEO of Work Avenue, said: “My team have been working tirelessly to ensure that immediately after Pesach this fund is open to everyone within the community. Our staff and volunteers have the compassion, expertise and experience to support people and review financial applications sensitively, confidentially and swiftly to get funds to those who need them most. Beyond this initial period of immediate assistance, Work Avenue is here to support people restart and grow their businesses or re-enter employment.”

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