FW de Klerk urges leaders to sit with the young and ‘plan future together’

15 November 2017

Former South African President FW de Klerk warned Free World leaders not to “take the youth for granted” in a powerful speech to more than 1,350 guests at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday evening, 13 November.

Norwood’s annual fundraising dinner, the most prestigious event in the charity’s calendar, saw generous supporters raise £3.2 million through donations at the glamorous affair.

The focus of the evening, sponsored by the Lord Leonard and Lady Estelle Wolfson Foundation, was on the younger generation – with more than 400 Young Norwood members in attendance. Referencing this theme, De Klerk spoke to CNBC journalist and broadcaster Tania Bryer about his hopes for the youth of South Africa and beyond, while encouraging intergenerational cooperation to work towards a better future.

During the candid interview, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr De Klerk said: “The grievances and problems of young people are quite often totally misunderstood by the older generation. There is a tendency to take the youth for granted and this must come to an end. The young are part and parcel of today’s debate and they should be able to play a prominent part in that debate.”

He went on to say the older generation should invite young people to “together plan your future – instead of us planning your future and telling you what’s best for you.”

Nicola Mendelsohn, Joint President of Norwood with her husband Lord Mendelsohn, spoke about the future of Norwood.

Lady Mendelsohn said: “As we ready ourselves for the years ahead, be assured that we will never stop in our quest to provide outstanding service to anyone who needs it.

She also pledged that Norwood will “continue to evolve to ensure that we serve the needs of our community with the best facilities, the best staff, the best practices and the best of care and support that can be provided.”

The assembled guests also heard a moving speech from 20-year-old Jodeci Joseph, who was diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 17 and struggled with life throughout his teenage years.

Speaking about the challenges he faced, Jodeci said before Norwood he’d felt “totally out of my depth” and “didn’t want to be in this world anymore.” But he described the beginning of his relationship with Norwood, especially with child and adolescent psychotherapist Sue, as “the part of my journey where I began to break free”.

“Sue helped me see things differently and over time she helped me improve my confidence, empowering me to believe that it is okay to be myself,” he said. “I didn’t have to live up to the high expectations I placed on myself and that I am extremely special, just as I am.”

Ending the evening on a high, Lance Corporal Richard Jones, the only magician to ever win Britain’s Got Talent, wowed guests with a stylish magical performance.


Notes for editors

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:

By email: pressoffice@norwood.org.uk

By phone: 020 8420 6866 or 07736 458532

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About Norwood

Norwood is the largest Jewish charity in the UK supporting vulnerable children and their families, children with special educational needs and people with learning disabilities and autism.

Founded in 1795, Norwood is one of the UK’s oldest charities and the only Jewish charity to enjoy the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen.

It helps children and adults to maximise their potential at home, at school and throughout their lives, through personalised services designed to enable choice.

Each year Norwood needs £35m to keep its services running, £12m of which comes through voluntary donations. These services include a total of 55 residential, supported living and family centres across London and the South East.

Norwood currently runs eight charity shops across North and East London thanks to the support of 150 dedicated volunteers.

About Norwood Corporate Events

Norwood runs an exciting schedule of corporate fundraising and networking events throughout the year. They cover a wide range of different sectors and provide numerous networking opportunities.

Norwood’s business events include: The Property Lunch, Distressed Investing Dinner, Business Breakfast, Private Equity Dinner, and YN’s Business, Finance and Entrepreneurs’ Dinner.