Norwood and UJIA Birthright link-up for first ‘Limitless’ trip

1 March 2012

"At Norwood, we believe that everyone, irrespective of their ability or circumstances, should have the same opportunities to live the life they choose.

Norwood and UJIA Birthright have joined forces to lead the UK Jewish community’s first trip to Israel for young people with physical and learning disabilities that is free for all participants. The UJIA Birthright-Norwood ‘Limitless’ programme is a 10 day trip that departs on Monday 5 March after nearly two years of careful planning.

During the trip, eight young people supported by Norwood together with 12 support workers, two UJIA Israel Experience educational leaders, a specialist Israeli tour guide, and a specialist Norwood manager, will tour Israel. They will visit key sites in Israel including the Galil, Western Wall and the Dead Sea, all with specialist programming, accommodation and transport adapted for their needs.

UJIA Israel Experience’s expertise in building bespoke educational itineraries for Israel tour groups, coupled with its commitment to connecting young people to Israel has led to the creation of a meaningful, accessible experience for the participants. Some of the ancient sites of Israel are by nature difficult for wheelchair users and Norwood and UJIA Israel Experience have worked hard to counteract this and find appropriate sites that will be suitable for the entire group. The participants will also be utilising the services of Etgarim, a non-profit organisation that provides outdoor activities for special needs participants on Israel trips to enable the ‘Limitless’ group to go abseiling, rafting on the Mediterranean and other activities that would otherwise be closed to them.

Norwood, a leading Jewish charity which provides vital personalised services to 7,000 people with learning disabilities, and children and families in need, was an obvious partner for UJIA Birthright. The joint initiative has enabled these young people to visit Israel for the first time on an organised trip. Previously, such a trip was an unrealistic option for many parents due to the challenges of meeting their child’s specialist support needs and the associated costs. However with the expertise and financial backing of both organisations, these barriers have been overcome and the trip will be accessible for all.

Shoshana Bloom, Jewish Cultural Manager at Norwood, who will also be joining the group, commented:

"At Norwood, we believe that everyone, irrespective of their ability or circumstances, should have the same opportunities to live the life they choose.

“This special Birthright trip, organised in partnership with UJIA, will enable some of the people we support to explore and celebrate their Jewish faith and culture in a new and exciting way that most of us take for granted. We believe that this visit is a "first" and will be a tremendous success and we hope that many more people will have the chance to take part in the future."

Royi Gutkin, UJIA Birthright Coordinator commented: "We are immensely proud of the Limitless programme. At UJIA we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to visit and engage with Israel in an educational capacity, regardless of financial or physical constraints. The trip is the first trip of its kind from Europe and we hope it becomes a springboard for expansion in the future."

You can follow the progress of the Limitless trip on Twitter by typing in the hash tag #Limitless or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UJIAcharity