JBD gives its clients ‘a life of dig­nity’

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community -

CHAN­CEL­LOR’S WIFE Mag­gie Dar­ling gave a glow­ing ac­count of Jewish Blind and Dis­abled as she hosted a re­cep­tion for over 100 JBD sup­port­ers at 11 Down­ing Street on Tues­day to cel­e­brate the char­ity’s 40th an­niver­sary.

In her wel­com­ing re­marks, Mrs Dar­ling voiced her ad­mi­ra­tion for the work JBD does to give clients “a life of dig­nity”. Speak­ing af­ter­wards, she pledged to visit a JBD prop­erty and hailed the or­gan­i­sa­tion as a model for other small char­i­ties. Its val­ues chimed with those of her and her hus­band.

The char­ity op­er­ates six in­de­pen­dent-liv­ing prop­er­ties in north and east Lon­don for 320 ten­ants aged from 20 up­wards. The prop­er­ties are built or adapted to in­cor­po­rate fa­cil­i­ties such as eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble power switches, au­to­matic doors, lifts with voice func­tion and wide cor­ri­dors to as­sist wheel­chair ac­cess. Sup­port is avail­able at all times at the press of a but­ton.

Among the re­cep­tion guests were a group from JBD’s Aztec House in Red­bridge, in­clud­ing MS suf­ferer Al­lan Depreli. He said the char­ity had changed his life, ex­plain­ing: “If I had been liv­ing alone in my own house, I would have had to rely on so­cial ser­vices com­pletely. Now I live my own life. But if I need the as­sis­tance, it is on the other side of the door.”

Fel­low ten­ant Hay­ley Mor­ton-Joseph said JBD had given her the in­de­pen­dence she craved. “The big­gest dif­fer­ence is to my fam­ily as I am now not their sole worry.” One of the char­ity’s youngest clients, 25-year-old Joel Duskwick, has cere­bral palsy. He is thrilled at the ad­di­tion of a com­puter room at Aztec House where he tu­tors other ten­ants in ba­sic skills.

Plans are in place to se­cure an­other build­ing in Bushey, but the char­ity needs to main­tain its back­ing from the com­mu­nity, as it re­ceives no gov­ern­ment fund­ing. Over £1.2 mil­lion was raised in 2008, and the fi­nan­cial fore­cast for this year is sim­i­lar.

There is a wait­ing list for places at JBD prop­er­ties and chair­man John Joseph says that many more could be in need of its ser­vices. An im­por­tant as­pect of the high-pro­file cel­e­bra­tion was bring­ing the char­ity to the at­ten­tion “of peo­ple liv­ing in poor cir­cum­stances who don’t even know we ex­ist. It is of­ten those most in need of help who do not come for­ward”.

Oth­ers at Tues­day’s event in­cluded mem­bers of the fledg­ling Young JBD com­mit­tee, which cel­e­brates its first birth­day next month. Ma­jor up­com­ing fundrais­ers in­clude a ladies’ lunch with Es­ther Rantzen and a re­cep­tion at the House of Lords next year.

Mag­gie Dar­ling with JBD ten­ant Rus­sell Reuben at 11 Down­ing Street

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