Jewish charities were among ‘unsung heroes’ receiving awards at Westminster Abbey at a ceremony for London’s faith and belief community.
Jewish Care received an award in the category, ‘Community resourcefulness in response to Covid-19’. “Jewish Care adapted their offering for older people living at home, including presenting events and programming to an on-line audience,” said Sir Kenneth Olisa, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, who presented the Faith & Belief Forum Community Awards.
He recounted his conversation that morning with King Charles, who offered his personal congratulations to all the organisations involved.
Other Jewish charities recognised in the Covid-19 category were The Paperweight Trust, who helped 3,500 clients on over 5,000 issues, requiring more than 70,000 volunteer hours and Hackney’s Hotline Meals Service, where 175 volunteers made meals for people who cannot shop or cook.
Project ImpACT was recognised in the ‘Inspiring Youth’ category. The charity helps teens learn about social responsibility interactively, while supporting numerous charities.
Since the lockdowns, they started to offer online volunteering and social action opportunities for Jewish youth, aged 12-18. They encouraged teens to be as active as possible and take a break from extra screen time due to remote learning.
The charity’s founder and director Chayli Fehler told Jewish News: “It was humbling to be surrounded by so many wonderful charities and inspiring people, all working together to create a more supported and connected community.” She praised her young volunteers for “cooking healthy meals at our youth community kitchen for food banks and shelters in Barnet and Camden.”
Richard Shone, Jewish Care director of community services, volunteering and social work, said: “Jewish Care is honoured to receive this award, recognising our services which are a lifeline to thousands of older people in the London Jewish community.”
Stamford Hill-based Kol Bonaich was also honoured. There were more than 300 people in attendance as the event was held in Westminster Abbey for the first time. In total 38 projects were given awards in categories that also included health and wellbeing, supporting women and environmental sustainability.
Sir Kenneth Olisa said: “This event is about saying thank you to those who help to increase Londoners sense of belonging through their actions and principles. At the heart of this is faith, which gives so many of us our sense of identity and duty. The amazing projects celebrated through this scheme, show us how faith teaches selflessness and strength.”
David Dangoor, chair of the Faith Council, of the Faith & Belief Forum, closed the event by saying: “You all represent so many people doing similar work. Showing how important it is to reach out to someone.”
He added that the late Queen Elizabeth II was “greatly moved by the work you are all doing. To the extent where she invited some of the award winners in June 2019 to a reception in Buckingham Palace.”
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