We want to work with all lev­els of govern­ment

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY CLAU­DIA MEN­DOZA Clau­dia Men­doza is Di­rec­tor of Pol­icy and Pub­lic Af­fairs at the JLC

LAST WEEK, the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil led a del­e­ga­tion of our mem­bers to meet the prime min­is­ter. To be given any face time at such a fraught mo­ment for the govern­ment is not some­thing we take for granted and in­deed, we used our one hour as­sid­u­ously and cov­ered many is­sues.

Our meet­ing took place in the af­ter­math of the Pitts­burgh mas­sacre, and Theresa May re­it­er­ated her com­mit­ment to fight­ing an­tisemitism and en­sur­ing the safety of the com­mu­nity.

But we also had a pos­i­tive story to tell and that’s of the con­tri­bu­tion of our com­mu­nity to so­ci­ety. It was great to be able to show­case two of our more re­cent mem­bers — Chai Can­cer Care and Work Av­enue. These are two or­gan­i­sa­tions who do tremen­dous work within the com­mu­nity and be­yond, get no govern­ment fund­ing, and have of­fered to share best prac­tice with oth­ers.

Chai’s Chair Louise Hager poignantly ex­plained the co-founder’s vi­sion for Chai when it was set it up in 1990. Since its in­cep­tion, it was recog­nised that you can live a life with and be­yond the im­pact of can­cer — rev­o­lu­tion­ary at the time but now the main­stream ap­proach to can­cer care.

What’s unique about Chai is the recog­ni­tion that each di­ag­no­sis has a rip­ple ef­fect and sup­port is ex­tended to fam­ily mem­bers, friends and work col­leagues, re­flected by the fact that 40 per cent of their clients are the pa­tients’ loved ones. The prime min­is­ter re­cently spoke of the loss of her god­daugh­ter to can­cer. This is clearly a per­sonal is­sue to her.

Help­ing peo­ple to ad­just to life post treat­ment can be very lonely and iso­lat­ing and Chai’s work is sec­ond to none. Given the govern­ment’s fo­cus on al­le­vi­at­ing lone­li­ness — which is not just a phe­nom­e­non af­fect­ing the el­derly — this was just an­other ex­am­ple where com­mu­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions may be able to con­tribute to the na­tional de­bate. We are pleased that as a re­sult of our meet­ing, Num­ber 10 has re­quested a min­is­te­rial visit to Chai.

Work Av­enue, chaired by Mark Mor­ris, works across all sec­tions of the Jewish com­mu­nity and be­yond. It helps peo­ple to sup­port them­selves fi­nan­cially through job place­ment or help­ing start and de­velop busi­nesses. Work Av­enue moves peo­ple from de­pen­dence to in­de­pen­dence, thus re­mov­ing re­liance on state ben­e­fits. Through dis­cus­sions with Num­ber 10 and the Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions, we be­lieve the Work Av­enue model is one which can be repli­cated.

We don’t just go to the prime min­is­ter with our cap in our hand. We want to work with all lev­els of govern­ment to show­case the work of our com­mu­nity, of which we should all be im­mensely proud.

We don’t just go to the PM with our cap in hand

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