Norwood celebrates 25 years of largest Jewish young professional lay network in Britain

28 March 2018

Norwood, the UK’s largest Jewish children’s, family and learning disability charity, is this year celebrating 25 years of Young Norwood (YN) – the charity’s network for young lay leaders, future fundraisers and volunteers.

Founded by Norwood’s Chair of Trustees, David Ereira, in 1993, YN has grown into one of the largest young professional lay networks in the British Jewish community. Back in 1993, the YN network was a pioneering project, set up at a time when Jewish charities were struggling to engage with younger members of the community. Today, YN boasts nearly 3,000 supporters aged between 21 and 35 – something that Mr Ereira is rightly proud of. He said: “YN is as current today as it was back in the nineties, if not more so – with members and committees raising incredible funds, but, more importantly, showing what can be achieved if young lay talent is given a platform to shine.” Indeed, there is a YN representative on every committee within Norwood, and a member on Norwood’s Board of Trustees.

The idea behind YN is to mentor and develop young lay leaders in all aspects of communal and charitable work. This includes organising and promoting fundraising events, leveraging their networks, volunteering, and raising awareness of the charity and its aims. Since many of those involved in YN are young professionals with burgeoning careers in high-profile sectors, and an ever-increasing social network, YN offers a programme of high-profile social and business events, which also give the opportunity to support Norwood’s vital work. This includes the industry-recognised YN Property Awards Dinner, and the YN Business, Finance, and Entrepreneurs event.

These events, which YN members help to organise, are vital when it comes to raising funds for Norwood’s essential services. The YN Property Awards Dinner alone raised over £170,000 this year, and YN overall contributes more than £500,000 every year.

The aim of YN is to train the community’s young lay leaders to enable them to carry on Norwood’s 222-year history for the next generation – something that YN’s outgoing Co-Chairs truly believe in. Sarah Arwas, a headhunter from south-west London, and Ashley Sweetland MBE, a Communications Professional from North-West London, said: “YN represents the future of the charity, and we want to continue to grow our platform and welcome future leaders to get involved as much as they can. Norwood has attracted so many younger supporters because the charity makes a profound difference to people’s lives, providing services that other charities simply aren’t or can’t. It has been an incredible privilege to be involved in YN’s leadership.”

Now in its 25th year, YN’s future looks bright. New committees are being formed; thousands more young people are being engaged via new events, new volunteering opportunities, and new routes to patronage; and a new Chair will be stepping into the shoes of Ms Arwas and Mr Sweetland MBE.

Twenty-six-year-old James Goodman, a Private Banker at Barclays, who becomes YN’s Chair on 31 March, said: “Sarah and Ashley have led YN from strength to strength for over five years and I’m excited to be taking their legacy forward. Young volunteers and fundraisers are the future of the charity and we want to continue to grow our platform and welcome the leaders of tomorrow to get involved as much as they can. We need to keep younger supporters engaged and younger donors motivated to keep giving. Most importantly, we need to ensure that the next generation of supporters is robust and committed, so that Norwood’s standing in the community goes from strength to strength.”

Further information

For further information please contact Norwood press team:

By email:

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 Young Norwood (YN)

Young Norwood (YN) was set up in 1993 and aims to mentor and develop young lay leaders in all aspects of communal and charitable work. This includes organising and promoting a programme of high-profile social and business fundraising events, volunteering, and raising awareness of the charity and its aims.

YN is also involved in much of Norwood’s direct work, including:

  • actively feeding into the organisation’s Volunteering and Community Engagement programme
  • running a buddying scheme where YN members and young adults with learning disabilities enjoy a range of activities.