Council Q&A, Mark Adlestone, The Fed Chairman

  1. What opportunities do you hope to get from joining the JLC and what expertise will The Fed offer to the JLC and its member organisations?

Joining the JLC will enable us to be part of a wider group where we might exchange ideas and benchmark ourselves against London based/larger organisations. Whilst we face similar challenges, it is undoubtedly different in the regions and we can only benefit from shared views and experiences. Membership will broaden our perspective and increase our networking opportunities.

The Fed has demonstrated leadership and visionary skills in Manchester. Having driven three mergers and created a national flagship project with the creation of an intergenerational care village, we have a great deal to offer.

2.  In your opinion what are the main areas of communal life that could be improved to enable different regions to work more collaboratively together?

I feel that the regions do collaborate and support each other through a social care network. There are demographic issues in terms of the rapid growth of the Chareidi community in Manchester which will present increasing economic and social welfare challenges. It would be good to see the smaller, declining communities identifying/collaborating more closely with the larger regional areas. We have worked closely with other smaller communities to discuss rationalisation of resources and mergers.

3.  What motivates you to be involved in communal life?

My family is originally from Lytham St Annes and I chose, for my family's sake, to move to Manchester’s thriving Jewish community rather than remain in a declining one. Our company, Beaverbrooks the Jewellers, reflects my own personal commitment to support charities not only on a financial but also on a practical level – these behaviours being part of our company's core values.

Involvement therefore within the Jewish Community in Manchester was a natural progression for me. I was keen to make a difference and bring my leadership, strategic and business skills to the charity sector and The Fed was the natural focus for this. I initially worked with The Fed's CEO, Karen Phillips, as her mentor before becoming Chairman, supporting her in taking the organisation forward and I am thrilled to see the progress that we have made.

4.  What is the most exciting project The Fed are currently involved in?

The Fed is undergoing a tremendous period of change after a dynamic fundraising drive. We are reconfiguring our site and planning to create additional dementia wings alongside increased independent living units. This will wrap around a new central hub which is bright, accessible and far removed from the traditional model of older people’s care. The truly exciting and unique model that we have created is around the concept of intergenerational care on one site. A children’s centre sits alongside a community centre, independent living, residential, nursing and end of life care – a modern care village that is the main centre of The Fed’s work. Although this is our flagship project, as ever, the bulk of our work is community based, reaching all sections of our community.

5.  What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing The Fed and the wider community at the moment?

The changes in social care will radically affect how people are funded in the future. We have to grasp that concept and see how the future pans out as this will undoubtedly influence how we develop and deliver care. Communal funding has and always will be an issue but we haven't allowed it to stifle our vision so far!

Manchester has a lower philanthropic capability than London and encouraging national donors to support us is an ongoing challenge. Demographically, there will be a disproportionate number of older people without the traditional family network. Many young people have moved to London, and are unlikely to return so there are challenges around this. We will have a generation who will not have their families around them to give them support as they age. Who will they turn to – The Fed? Where will we find the future paid professionals and communal leaders? And finally, the philanthropic pot could potentially dwindle even further in Manchester.

Having said that, Manchester is a lively and wonderful community...you should try it!