Eemacare provides support for single mothers in the Jewish community.
They listen. They understand. They help. But have you heard of them?
In these current recessionary times, the Jewish communities of North and South Manchester have experienced as much need of support as society in general, and mothers whose needs outweigh their resources may not know where to turn.
Eemacare, as yet a lesser-known social care provider, exists to give additional support to single mums and families in need and two of its representatives met me recently to explain their charity’s mission.
Lucy Feingold and Joanne Freedman, both Manchester women, been involved with Eemacare since its inception almost two years ago Lucy, the clinical lead and a working psychotherapist who has sadly experienced coping with three young children after a divorce, outlined what they offer a client who may approach them.
“We are a specialist care organisation who aim to support Jewish single mums and their children across Manchester. That includes a variety of women who don’t know where to get help, those who are in crisis, or who have fallen into financial difficulties through divorce or marital problems as well as others who may need advice on childcare or about problems their children are encountering in school. This obviously includes a wide spectrum of need.
“When we understand their requirements, we can use our own resources or signpost them to some of the remarkable charities, such as Paperweight, The Fed, or JSense who all do such a great job within the community, or help them to find a social worker, debt counsellor, or someone in the wider community who may be able to help. We have a handle on the other organisations along with a good understanding of how local councils are able to support and where they need Jewish charities to understand their specific needs.
“I appreciate that when women approach us they may be in a very emotional state and in need of close support or counselling in order to separate emotion from actual need. We have more than a hundred women on our books, and I have learnt that this particular service is often vital for the family’s survival. Once they have that emotional support, they may be able to refocus and concentrate on more practical issues, like the possibility of repairing the marriage, care of the children, or financial planning. The amount of support varies each time, and we do operate a monitored emergency fund for immediate distress.”
With increasing workloads, Lucy and Joanne can look to strong support from within the organisation: “We have the voluntary assistance of four mature, dedicated case workers who have a broad understanding of the field, and of Jewish life itself. They will, where necessary, match the clients to a volunteer case worker who will check in with them regularly and provide one-to-one support.”
We get many offers of volunteer help and choose the case workers very carefully to meet the clients as accurately as possible.”
While these aims are laudable, when dealing with families who may need physical support on many levels as well as diversion for the children requires a regular income stream of donations. Other income is needed for essentials, Yomim Tovim, and the occasional outing.
“Last Chanukah we were given a great many board games which were truly invaluable, providing families with something to engage in together, and even allowing them to relax in the home for a while.
“Others may choose to sponsor an event or outing or give a bigger financial gift which could provide some with an opportunity to go on an outing for the day. We try also not to forget the mothers involved too, but our biggest financial commitments are to the provision of the basics such as housing, clothing, and food.”
As a relatively small organisation, few people in the community currently realise that they can go to Eemacare for help: “Our service is highly confidential, and as a consequence few people realise that we exist, which makes fundraising harder. We are a small team but have many contacts and a great deal of good will from people who will offer help. All of this counts towards achieving our goals of support, understanding and answering need.
“We do not look for clients. They approach us and we do our best to work with on every level and with all available agencies to alleviate what may, at first sight, seem an impossible situation.”
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