“My son’s friend Ben has got a new baby sister, but she came several weeks early and there are complications. Her parents are exhausted, rushing to and from the hospital. We’re taking Ben to football practice this week. I wish there was more I could do to help…”

“Rosie’s classmate was rushed into hospital. We think it might be quite serious. The class rep is arranging a meal rota for their family, but I wish I could do something else to support them….”

Well, now there IS something you can do to help.

We are about to start recruiting a large number of new volunteers for Camp Simcha, who actually won’t be doing very much, but will still have an important role in the charity.

As Community Liaison Co-ordinator for Camp Simcha, I have spent the past 2 years making contact with a lot of people with formal positions in the Jewish community: Headteachers, teachers, school and shul administrators, Rabbis, welfare officers etc. I explain what we do so that they can refer families to us. It’s not always successful and we know that a lot of our referrals come by ‘word of mouth’.

We are now launching the TouchPoints project to build a network or ‘safety net’ of informal connections, to raise awareness of Camp Simcha’s services and particularly the wide range of medical conditions that we support. We want parents to sign up as Ambassadors and come to a seminar to learn about Camp Simcha, and then to simply keep in touch with any groups that their child attends. If they hear about a sick child or their sibling, they will contact us to pass on the information in an appropriate way.

Camp Simcha Touchpoint Ambassadors will support us in ensuring that no Jewish family with a seriously ill child, should have to suffer without our practical and emotional support

For example, an Ambassador might be in touch with the other parents in their child’s school class or year, as well as their dance class, Brownie/Cubs pack, and even an antenatal mums group.  Or they may be on the list for their shul’s children service rota or cheder security, and their son’s HMH or Maccabi football team.  Grandparents might be in touch with toddler groups.

Each group that an Ambassador is connected to will be known as a Touchpoint, and we are going to record and map as many of them as we can to cover north London, across the spectrum of religious observance.

We will also keep in touch with the Ambassadors and send them regular messages by WhatsApp, and on their own Facebook page, to ensure that they stay connected to Camp Simcha. They won’t be asked specifically to fundraise for us, but we will be happy to give them information or contacts if they do.

Sarah is one parent who has signed up as a TouchPoints Ambassador –

“With three children, I have always found volunteering opportunities at their schools and clubs, as well at the local Brownies and our Masorti Synagogue community, so I see a lot of other parents over the course of the week. I’m looking forward to finding out more about what Camp Simcha does, so that I know what to do and how to help if I hear about a family with a child that is in hospital or being treated for a serious illness.”

If you wish to find out more about our TouchPoints Ambassadors project, please get in touch with me, naomi@campsimcha.org.uk or find out more at www.campsimcha.org.uk/touchpoints.