Jewish Care is the largest health and social care organisation serving the Jewish community in the UK, primarily based in London and the South East of England. We touch the lives of 10,000 people per week through our ten residential care homes, three independent living schemes, five community centres, three centres for people living with dementia, a telephone helpline, a befriending service, a social work service, meals on wheels and services for Holocaust Survivors. The impact of Covid-19 on our residential care homes has been enormous. The need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been urgent and acute. We had to purchase hundreds of thousands of items such as masks, gloves, coveralls and shoe covers at speed, regardless of the cost. We are delighted that as a result of the steps we took early on to do all we could to keep Covid-19 out of our care homes, the number of cases has significantly diminished. However, as we enter a new phase of carefully opening our doors again, we have to remain cautious and not become complacent. Additionally, since the closure of our nine community facilities, we have had to find new ways to support our members, many of whom are vulnerable, live alone, and are isolated. For most of them, our community centres were a life-line. We are immensely proud to report that following an appeal for emergency volunteers, we now make over 1,000 befriending phone calls a week to check on our members’ health and wellbeing, and have delivered 61,000 meals since the start of the pandemic.
During the first wave of the pandemic the Scheinberg Relief Fund provided funds to purchase much needed PPE to protect the 1,300 staff and residents of Jewish Care’s 10 elderly residential care homes across the UK.
Jewish care was quick to pivot and provide stimulating online resources for its clients, to ensure the most isolated and vulnerable elderly could access and engage with their programmes and services when their day centres closed in March 2020. As the months rolled on and Jewish Care’s day centres remained closed, the SRF provided funding towards the continuing development of Jewish Care’s virtual digital services.