Norwood triumphs in clash over £1m of central funds

Nathalie Thomas

The Jewish charity Norwood has won a four-month struggle with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister that jeopardised £1m in funding for its homes and other services.

The charity won after enlisting the support of MPs and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. The ODPM threatened to withdraw funding after claiming the charity's services for Jewish adults and children with learning difficulties were "not specialist enough" for it to be granted 'designated status'.

Norwood was informed it would have to turn to local authority funding, causing its cultural focus to be diluted or to disappear altogether.

"We would have had to take whoever the local authorities wanted us to take," said Norma Brier, chief executive of Norwood. "This could have led to the closure of our homes."

Although the Middlesex-based charity claims it is happy to take local people regardless of whether they are Jewish or not when vacancies are available, Brier expressed concern that those living in other areas and in need of Norwood's specific services might have been neglected.

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