Aid char­ity chief cel­e­brates £10m mile­stone

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

THE FOUNDER of a grass-roots match­mak­ing ven­ture launched in Or­tho­dox shuls over the High Holy Days has ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment at the pick­i­ness of men over 40 who re­sponded.

Daniela Pears, Mitz­vah Day’s in­ter­faith chair, said that around 8,000 leaflets pro­mot­ing the We Go To­gether ini­tia­tive were placed in the men’s seat­ing ar­eas of more than a dozen Lon­don area shuls.

The take-up was en­cour­ag­ing and a num­ber have since been in­ter­viewed by mem­bers of the project’s net­work of vol­un­teers with a view to find­ing them a match from a grow­ing database of sin­gle women.

Mrs Pears re­ported that fe­male ap­pli­cants aged 40 and above out­num­bered male re­spon­dents by 85 to 32.

“In the over-40 group, we have had to close ap­pli­ca­tions [for women] be­cause we don’t want to dis­ap­point any­one.

“The men are go­ing for younger women —some­times 20-plus years younger. But we don’t have young women want­ing men 20 years older than them.

“We’ve got lots of re­ally great women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. We just need the men to match them with.”

The project has re­cently opened a Face­book page, with posts tar­get­ing younger men in par­tic­u­lar, pro­mot­ing the ser­vice as an al­ter­na­tive to dat­ing apps. And there has been greater par­ity be­tween the sexes among re­spon­dents in their late 20s and 30s.

“I imag­ine they’re get­ting cheesed off with [dat­ing app] J-Swipe. They’re look­ing for some­thing more mean­ing­ful.

“But we’ve seen some men not go through with dates, which is a shame be­cause we put in the hard work match­ing peo­ple.

“I would just ask them to trust us. Some­times when you meet some­one there’s a chem­istry and some­times there isn’t. But you don’t know be­fore you’ve tried.”

We don’t have women want­ing men 20 years older’

ROSALIND BLUE­STONE set up Goods for Good three years ago to sup­ply refugees in camps world­wide with es­sen­tial items.

Now the char­ity the Bore­ham­wood res­i­dent runs sin­gle-hand­edly has reached the £10 mil­lion mile­stone in do­nated goods — and sup­ported one mil­lion peo­ple in need.

“I had worked for World Jewish Re­lief for 12 years help­ing to de­liver its hu­man­i­tar­ian aid pro­jects,” Mrs Blue­stone, 63, ex­plained. “I just knew I couldn’t sit around and watch what was hap­pen­ing to refugees all over the world.

“We send fit-for-pur­pose goods to refugees who need them.”

The char­ity has co-or­di­nated do­na­tions from 65 UK com­pa­nies, send­ing al­most 200 con­sign­ments to coun­tries in­clud­ing Ukraine, Moldova, Israel, Syria, the Philip­pines, Sierra Leone, Zim­babwe and Uganda.

“A camp in Er­bil [Iraqi Kur­dis­tan] was able to set up a foot­ball team with the prod­ucts we sent them. It is small thing but it makes a dif­fer­ence.”

Yet there were many more peo­ple in ur­gent need of sup­port. “To think of mothers with­out blan­kets or nap­pies for their ba­bies is unimag­in­able.”

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