COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Jewish care sector not set for future provision

Jewish charities are not prepared to meet the demands that will be placed on them by the decline in welfare provision and increasing care demands of an ageing population, according to a major study on the state of the Jewish voluntary sector.

The study, entitled Long-term planning for British Jewry, is the culmination of five years work and 10 separate reports by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, on the 2,000 organisations that make up the Jewish voluntary sector.

"People are living longer and are healthier, and will demand a different kind of support from the traditional care services provided by established faith and ethnic communities," said Margaret Harris, professor of voluntary sector organisation at Aston Business School and a consultant on the report.

"My grandfather was grateful to be given a bunk in a charity dormitory, but people who have been supporting Jewish care charities for years have different experiences of life in the UK and higher expectations than previous generations," she said.

Harris said the report could be used by other ethnic and faith-based communities as a blueprint for the future of their care charities.

"As well as providing an example of how the Jewish charity sector works as a small model of the welfare state, the report is also relevant to other charities working in all care services," said Harris.

"People are becoming more involved in good causes and will expect more in return."

The report recommends that the Jewish voluntary sector must explore the development of intermediary care services, a wider range of sheltered housing, and better use of technology to enable older people to stay in touch with their communities.

Other suggestions include establishing a method for better collaborative partnerships between charities and improved promotion of organisations' good works.

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