A Jewish charity has reflected on the impact of its work in the community as it kickstarts its latest fundraising campaign.

The Fed, based at Heathlands Drive in Prestwich, kickstarted its 2024/25 fundraising campaign with seven "Dinners With A Difference" attended by 575 guests at venues across Manchester.

The intimate, local and less formal dinners, attended by between 60 and 95 guests, raised more than £700,000 thanks to “the incredible, open hearted response of donors".

The amount jump-started its drive towards its target of £2.5m for the next financial year, “ensuring The Fed remains as the Manchester Jewish Community’s safety net".

Bury Times: The Fed raised more than £700,000 in funding at its 'Dinners with a Difference'The Fed raised more than £700,000 in funding at its 'Dinners with a Difference' (Image: The Fed)READ MORE:  Bury Art Museum granted £500k to repair leaking roof

That is the amount needed to bridge the funding shortfall of £1m for the charity’s community services and £1.5m to meet the cost of care at Heathlands Village for those unable to afford to pay privately and who rely on an inadequate public funding.

The Fed chairman Bernie Yaffe welcomed guests each night while director of fundraising, marketing and communications, Raphi Bloom, delivered the appeal, calling on donors to The Fed in accordance with the Talmudic maxim “Aniyei Ircha Kodmim”– “the poor of your city come first”.

Bury Times: Mayor Andy Burnham has called The Fed one of the jewels in Greater Manchester’s crown.Mayor Andy Burnham has called The Fed one of the jewels in Greater Manchester’s crown. (Image: The Fed)

Guests were shown two films, the first featuring retired art dealer and former communal leader, Henry Donn MBE, who touchingly recalled the wonderful life he enjoyed with his late wife, Della, and his affection and admiration for his late sister, Leita, both of whom developed dementia in later life.

He described the loving care they received at Heathlands Village and the outstanding support he too received from staff at all levels of the organisation.

The second film introduced, Shavana, the young single mother of Elliot aged seven, in which she movingly related the support they received from The Fed’s community teams when Elliot was facing life-threatening illness, including helping her to find, furnish and settle into a new home in the heart of the community.

She described what The Fed does for people as "beautiful".

READ MORE: 'It was so popular': Radcliffe Volunteers Fair returns to town

Interposed between the films, guests watched a stark verbatim performance by actor, Marlon Solomon, who powerfully voiced the words of an anonymous member of the community whose friend struggles with extreme depression and whose life has been saved by The Fed’s involvement - his only regret being that he had not turned to The Fed sooner.

Reflecting on the packed two-week schedule of dinners, Raphi said: “Following people’s very positive response to our 2022 Dinners With A Difference we knew we had to stay with the more intimate, local formula.

“Once again guests commented on how much more personally connected they felt to our work by attending a smaller occasion, and how the local venues create a much more relaxed atmosphere. The results speak for themselves.

“I want to express a heartfelt personal thank you to all our donors for believing in our work and partnering with The Fed to ensure we remain as the community’s safety net.”

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, who attended on the third night, reiterated his description of The Fed as “one of the jewels in Greater Manchester’s crown,” and paid special tribute to the charity’s My Voice project for its work in capturing the voices, and sharing the stories and wisdom, of its Survivor Storytellers, saying those who led the project had “done humanity a great service”.