On a personal note….

I don’t usually use the JVN blog to discuss my personal thoughts about work, but I wanted to share with you a couple of special moments from the week. Moments that inspired me, touched me and made me so grateful to be working in the voluntary sector and for the Jewish community

The first was at our Ladies Coffee Morning at the Chief Rabbi’s house, where we were kindly being hosted by Lady Sacks.  Norma Brier, the outgoing Chief Executive of Norwood, was in conversation with Dame Mary Marsh, formerly Chief Executive of the NSPCC, and now Director of the Clore Leadership Foundation and was sharing some of her thoughts about her charity and, more importantly, about what made her tick.

Norma said that she and Dame Mary were really both quite concerned about recent Government policy regarding its impact on the charity/voluntary sector and how Big Society said all the right things conceptually, but weren’t yet delivering the goods.  Both women fully engaged with the conversation and their audience and I felt privileged to have been party to the conversation.

The event – in typical JVN fashion! – was followed swiftly by two other equally seminal occasions.  The first was a tea party at the House of Lords and though not effusive by nature, I was so very very proud to see the JVN logo emblazoned on my invite to the launch of the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG). JVN is a partner organisation in JCLG and responsible for developing hospitality programmes and the new Visit Jewish London website.  I was absolutely kvelling to hear our small charity’s name read out amongst the big boys and praised for its role.

JCLG! Click to enlarge.

The fact that we have a Jewish faith component where we can share our traditions and values based around the Olympics to the wider world is really incredible.   And that fact that I can say ‘I was there,’ and JVN a very small charity achieved something very big is just amazing.

This warm feeling continued into the evening – despite the usual rush of event organising – and pervaded my entire being as I sat and watched the film a small act, a film that makes you feel good all over and recognise how we should value what we have and how simple acts of kindness can change lives.

Susan, my chairman, organised the film showing at the Everyman in Belsize Park as a first charity drive for JVN, and although we didn’t raise huge amounts of money, we could hold our heads high and show that we practise what we preach – we promote good causes and opportunities to engage.  There were few dry eyes left in the cinema!!

Click here for all the piccies!

This message in the month preceding Rosh Hashana helped me reflect on why I love working for our community and that the bottom line is all about the people and relationships we make. It’s small moments, that are significant and these three really invigorated me.

I truly offer thanks to all our volunteers and wonderful staff team for helping JVN change lives and for enthusing me each day.



Categories: Leonie's View


Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.


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