Every year, it is our duty to tell the Pesach story.
This year, it is Norwood’s duty to tell their stories...

Pesach is a special time of year. Every Pesach, Jewish families come together to commemorate our ancestors’ escape from slavery. This annual opportunity to remember our collective past has always been a crucial part of what it means to be Jewish.

For Norwood – which started as a fund for the Jewish poor in 1795 – this is a special year. We will be spending it commemorating and celebrating the fact that we have been proudly serving our community for an astonishing 225 years.

Our sages teach us that the main purpose of the Seder night is "our duty to tell the story". So what better way for Norwood to mark our 225th Pesach than by telling the stories of some of the extraordinary people we have had the honour and privilege to support over the years.

Norwood has been here for 225 years. With your support we will be here for ever. Please help us to keep telling stories about the extraordinary lives of the people we support by donating to our Pesach campaign.


is for History
  Road digger, market trader, wheeler-dealer, Jack the lad, retired gentleman… Ronnie’s life has been rather colourful, to say the least. Want to know how Ronnie got from the Norwood Orphanage to Park Lane...
is for Opportunity
  In the eight years since Lizi phoned Norwood and asked for help, her life has changed rather dramatically. To discover how – with Norwood’s help – Lizi's family went from barely surviving to positively thriving...
is for Pioneering
  Joe loves Arsenal, golf, music and playing on his Xbox. He is, in many ways, a perfectly ordinary 25 year old. But Joe lives in Norwood’s first specially converted ‘smart’ home. To learn about Joe’s extraordinary life...
is for Endurance
  Anaelle is about to turn 10. Part of her birthday celebration will involve going to Norwood’s Unity group, as usual, where Anaelle will, as usual, take full part in the many activities on offer. To find out how Norwood supports Anaelle now and will be there for Anaelle’s future...

To read Norwood’s emergency COVID-19 statement, click here


Norwood has been proudly serving our community for 225 years.
With your support we will be here for ever.
Thank you for listening.



This is Ronnie’s Story

He was born in 1932 in a rented room on Brick Lane, the ninth of 10 children. When his mother couldn’t cope, he found himself at the Norwood Orphanage. In his teens, Norwood secured him an apprenticeship in a handbag factory; the first of Ronnie’s many professions.

Builder, road digger, market trader, waiter… Ronnie did it all until, in the 1980s, he went for an interview to deal stocks and shares from an office off Park Lane. At the interview, the company director asked him what school he went to. Ronnie replied: “Have you heard of Eton or Harrow? Well, I come from the Norwood Home for Jewish Children.” He got the job.

Now, Ronnie is retired and lives in Leigh-on-Sea with his second wife, Betty. He reads, he goes to shul, he volunteers and he is the welfare officer for NOSA, the Norwood Old Scholars Association. “As an ‘orphan’ who never knew his father,” he says, “I am blessed to have all this – and my Norwood brothers and sisters – in my life.”

This is Annaelle’s Story

Exactly 10 years ago this Pesach, Sharon and Joel received the news that all expectant parents fear: the virus Sharon had contracted during pregnancy had damaged her unborn child’s brain. The doctors told them that their baby would almost certainly be born deaf and blind and advised her to terminate the pregnancy at that late stage. “She was born a few weeks after Pesach and though she is non-verbal, she communicates with sign language, she’s funny, happy and has friends and many things that she loves to do,” Sharon says now.

When Anaelle was little, she and her mum would go to Norwood’s Rainbow Group together. Now that Anaelle is nearly 10, she attends Unity and takes full and active part in everything from baking and painting to music, dancing and outings.

Which is not to say that life is easy and, with three other children, work and little or no extended family support network, the family is thankful for everything that Norwood has to offer. As far as Anaelle’s future is concerned, the family isn’t really thinking that far ahead as “things are constantly changing”. But Sharon and Joel are relieved to know that Norwood’s life-long support system will always be there for them and their family.

This is Joe's Story

Parenting can be a tricky business at the best of times. But according to Joe’s mum, Michelle: “Unless you have a special needs child, you can’t have any idea what that is like.” Joe was still-born and then resuscitated 25 years ago. Michelle was told he would not survive. But he did survive and, since then, his family have done everything in their power to give Joe, who has cerebral palsy, as extraordinary a life as possible.

One of the ways they have done this has been by finding Joe a home at Norwood’s first “smart” residence, Lyonsdown.

“Joe is our world and we support him 110 per cent,” says Michelle. “And a crucial part of that has been finding Norwood, which has enabled Joe to live an independent and active life. Like other people his age, Joe is happiest when he’s doing things,” says Michelle. “And the state-of-the-art technology in Lyonsdown ensures that he can do many of the everyday things – like opening doors, cooking and communicating – that other people take for granted.”

This is Lizi's Story

One desperate day in 2012, Lizi made a phone call that would change her life. Her marriage had broken down, her three-year-old son, Jacob, had just received a diagnosis of autism and his twin sister, Layla, was feeling the fall-out from the chaos all around her. Lizi phoned Norwood and asked for help.

Norwood came to the rescue in the form of parenting courses, psychotherapy sessions, social workers’ advice and even a volunteer who came to the home to give Lizi some much-needed breathing space.

In 2017, Lizi remarried, turned 40 and began to notice that her hair was falling out. Within six weeks she was bald. But nothing could stop the newly qualified life coach who used all of her life experiences to help other people.

These days, Jacob and Layla are thriving and Lizi is a confidence coach, motivational speaker and author of the bestselling book, How to Feel Beautiful. It has, she can reflect, been quite a turnaround. “Just knowing that I had a team behind me who wanted to see me and my family thrive made all the difference,” she says. “Without Norwood’s intervention I can’t even imagine how our lives might have turned out.”