A film crew from BBC’s Children in Need (CiN) visited The Fed’s Children’s Centre on November 14th to film a segment for its 2021 national television appeal.

The Fed is a beneficiary of CiN, which helps fund our Project Smile Play & Learn service, supporting 25 Jewish children each week – all of whom have additional needs. This crucial service was highlighted in the nationally broadcasted appeal, and included interviews with frontline staff during a Sunday afternoon session at the centre.

Fed Community Support Worker, Zoe Guerrier, explained in the film how Project Smile, “…allows parents to have a few hours’ break from their role as carers,” acknowledging that “…it’s really hard for parents to let go of their children, and to trust someone else to look after them.”

Play Leader, Carol Booth, summed up the experience of running the Children’s Centre:

“Every day is different. When you come in you might feel down, but once you see the children’s faces – what you’re putting in, you get it all right back!

Touchingly, she emphasised how “…every child is included because nobody judges them, nobody expects any more of them than they can give.”

Jacob Jackson’s sister, Eva, described by their mother Ruth as ‘a complete ray of sunshine’, has been attending the Children’s Centre for many years. He spoke of the benefits provided by the service for the entire family.

“Eva doesn’t go to parties or friends, but for her to interact with other people of her own age for a few hours is good for her, and it opens up some free time between the rest of the family,” he said.

Star of the show was one young service-user, Yehuda, who shone in front of the camera, enthusiastically describing how having hyperactivity and ADHD meant he also ‘needs a bit of help’, and how ‘everyone has a child left in them, even adults.’

To the best of our knowledge, the inclusion of Project Smile marked the first time that a Jewish charity has been featured in CiN’s five-decade history.

Sara Ogden-Thomson who oversees the service expressed her delight at its inclusion in the 2021 appeal.

“We are so grateful for the support we get from CiN and very proud to be able to publicise our work to the widest possible audience and demonstrate that The Fed is truly is an all-age charity.

The film can be viewed on YouTube here.