Jewish Care is consulting on about 120 redundancies in an effort to make its services more sustainable during the pandemic.
The charity manages a range of community centres in London and South East England, as well as other services such as care homes. Until now most of its centres had been closed and it had been planning to go back to offering some face-to-face services there this autumn.
However, the second lockdown and the rise in coronavirus cases has made it impossible to do so, and “forced us to reassess and accelerate our strategic review to make sure our community services are viable, sustainable and relevant to the communities we serve now and into the future,” the charity said.
Jewish Care will be consulting on about 120 redundancies, with roughly 100 roles expected to go. The charity currently employs around 1,300 staff and had an income of £61m in 2018-19.
The charity will be investing in its outreach services instead, such as its helpline, but said it is unable to keep all its staff.
£7m additional financial impact
In a statement on its website, Jewish Care said: “Regretfully, we are simply unable to sustain the full range of the centres’ staff that were needed to run the services when we could meet all our members in person.
“Unfortunately, this means that the majority of roles in the centres are at risk of redundancy as services are consolidated. The impact of Covid-19 on Jewish Care remains high and we estimate that the additional financial impact to the end of March 2021 could be as much as £7m.”
Back in April, the charity launched an emergency appeal to raise money for its care homes together with two other Jewish residential care home charities, Nightingale Hammerson and The Fed. It also had to cancel its fundraising dinner, which is its biggest fundraising event of the year and raised more than £5m in 2018.
In May, the charity said additional expenditure due to the pandemic, for example to purchase PPE, already amounted to £5m, and that the charity also needed to raise £16m to keep its services running.
Need to adapt
Jonathan Zenios, chair of Jewish Care, said: “Jewish Care needs to continue to adapt and to change, to meet challenges as we find them but to always put the needs of those who need us most first. However difficult the decisions we face may be, we face them knowing that they will help us to meet those needs now and into the future.
“Our new community service plan will allow us to be there for more members of the community who need us, even if they are not able to travel to our community centres. We will always be where we are needed, through our social work teams, our Jewish Care Direct Helpline and through our new consolidated outreach community services.
“Our vision is for a virtual community centre to sit alongside our real centres when they can eventually reopen. A virtual community centre which offers our members food, company and stimulating activities even if they can’t be together because of either a global pandemic or because they are not physically able.
“These are challenging times but responding to them quickly and thoughtfully ensures our long-term resilience. I also know that we can continue to count on the fantastic support of our thousands of volunteers and hugely generous supporters alongside the tremendous commitment of our workforce.”