Why Chai de­serves your sup­port

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

PRO­VID­ING A sup­port net­work for Jewish can­cer pa­tients of all ages is a dif­fi­cult task. Rais­ing more than £1 mil­lion to keep that ser­vice run­ning is no eas­ier.

Chai Can­cer Care pro­vides widerang­ing as­sis­tance to any­one af­fected by a can­cer di­ag­no­sis. The char­ity pro­vides pa­tients, their fam­i­lies and friends with ad­vice, coun­selling and ther­apy, re­gard­less of syn­a­gogue af­fil­i­a­tion.

Teams of vol­un­teers of­fer ad­di­tional sup­port, vis­it­ing clients in their own homes to pro­vide be­friend­ing ser­vices, do pa­tients’ shop­ping and give lifts to ap­point­ments or con­sul­ta­tions.

There is no cut-off point for Chai’s as­sis­tance, and clients of­ten use the char­ity’s ser­vices for many years.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Elaine Kerr ex­plained that as new client num­bers have dou­bled in each of the last two years, the need for ad­di­tional in­come has risen sharply.

“While peo­ple are liv­ing longer with their can­cers we have to in­crease our fund­ing. We must keep pace with those grow­ing num­bers,” she said.

Chai must raise around £1.2 mil­lion ev­ery year, made up en­tirely of do­na­tions. The char­ity re­ceives no gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance or grants.

That is one rea­son why we have cho­sen Chai as a ben­e­fi­ciary for the 2008 JC Char­ity Ap­peal. We ask read­ers to be gen­er­ous to this and our other two char­i­ties.

“We are a pru­dent char­ity,” Mrs Kerr said. “We al­ways have at least one year’s run­ning costs in the bank be­cause we have to en­sure peo­ple who need help can get it im­me­di­ately. The com­mu­nity has been very gen­er­ous to us.”

Em­ploy­ing 12 full-time staff and an­other 14 tem­po­rary ther­a­pists and coun­sel­lors, Chai is run from head offices in Hen­don, North West Lon­don.

Its ap­peal nom­i­na­tion high­lighted a de­sire to set up new part­ner­ships in other cen­tres of Jewish pop­u­la­tion, but each one can cost around £46,000 to im­ple­ment. An in­crease in do­na­tions would also al­low an ex­ten­sion of Chai’s pro­gramme run from Jewish Care’s premises at Red­bridge Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Cur­rently Chai staff only visit the Es­sex cen­tre one day a week.

In July, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­gan with Nightin­gale House in Wandsworth, again of­fer­ing ser­vices once a week.

Ms Kerr said: “We are very ex­cited about the JC ap­peal, be­cause we hope to grow in line with our client num­bers. The more peo­ple who know about Chai, the more peo­ple come to us.

“We need to be ac­ces­si­ble to those who need help, but that in turn puts added pres­sure on us. We are com­pletely de­mand-led and have no wait­ing list.”

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