Jewish Care presented awards to volunteers spanning eight decades, from 14-year-old school children and film students at Middlesex University to parents who volunteer with their babies and older people who use services at Jewish Care’s whilst also volunteering. The organisations recognised some of the unsung heroes who make a difference at The Betty and Aubrey Lynes Annual Volunteer Awards ceremony on Wednesday 28 June.
Speaking at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre, Jewish Care Chairman, Steven Lewis told guests; “Looking around the room is a reminder of the diversity of Jewish Care’s volunteers – young and old from all walks of life. This evening is an opportunity for us to recognise the breadth of volunteer’s contribution whilst knowing that this is just a snapshot of the work that goes on each and every day in the world of Jewish Care. It is an opportunity to say thank you to every one of you here today and the thousands of others who have given their time this year”.
Comedian and writer Ivor Baddiel presented the awards for the fourth year running. He talked about his first-hand experience of Jewish Care volunteers when his father attended The Leonard Sainer Centre. “We need more people like you” he commented. “Without people like you, I fear for the future”.
One of the oldest award winners of the evening, 84-year-old Sheila Lawrence was overcome with emotion on collecting her award for the service user who also volunteers award, commenting; “I had no idea I was receiving an award, I can’t believe I am being honoured this way”. Sheila is both a volunteer and client at Jewish Care. She attends the Connect@ group in Southgate and is also an “exceptional” volunteer at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre. Described as someone with a “smile and a can do attitude who truly embodies the values of Jewish Care”.
One young winners 14-year-old Jenna Morris started helping her grandma, a volunteer in the Shop at the Betty and Asher Loftus Campus, in her school holidays. In January when she turned 14 she started volunteering every Sunday at Kun Mor & George Kiss home where she started a sing a long group. Staff at the home commented; “She brings joy to the residents and has transformed Sunday mornings at the home”.
On presenting the award, Ninette Levy, the daughter of the late Audrey and Betty Lynes commented; “Every year I come to this award ceremony it surprises me to see more new faces of both young and old but best of all is hearing stories of how the younger generation are getting involved”.
Connie Stanton danced her way up to the stage to collect her unsung hero award for her 22 years of volunteering at Rubens House. Both Connie and her late husband John were members of the Pantaloons, an entertainment group who, over 15 years performed musical theatre shows for the residents at many Jewish Care homes. Connie recognised residents’ needs for a variety of personal items and so started the ‘trolley shop’ taking care to make sure that it stocked what individual residents wanted. Connie is committed to doing everything possible to make a meaningful difference to the life of individual residents.
The Synagogue team at the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre won the group award for bringing the Jewish into Jewish Care, they prepare and officiate services for residents across the three homes on this site.
Volunteer Malcolm Feiger spoke on behalf of the group; “We are a team with different attributes, some of us help with bringing people into services, others with the service itself. The residents get so much out of the services. When they see us on a Shabbat morning their faces light up. Without volunteers services wouldn’t happen. I don’t think we need acknowledgement but I do hope this award will encourage others to volunteer. It’s so worthwhile”.
Esther Lee who received a special mention for her work using social media to organise the Rosie’s Little Bubalas mum’s and babies group to sing with residents at Rubens House in Finchley, summed up the can do attitude of volunteers when asked how she finds time to volunteer when she is working in the week, teaching on Sunday, bringing up a toddler and moving house, her answer was, “Why not, I love it, you make time!”
Closing the evening, Steven Lewis, Chairman of Jewish Care said; “I would like to add my congratulations and thanks to all those who have been recognised for their contribution as well of course extending a huge thank you to all those volunteers who choose every day of the year to give time to Jewish Care. We simply wouldn’t be the organisation we are today without your support”.