News & thoughts

New beginnings – same magic

One term on in our new home and I’m amazed by the collective commitment and dedication shown by everyone involved,  ensuring the gateways special recipe, its people, philosophy and practice, have made a successful transfer to independence.

At Chanukah as we reflect on miracles I want to be grateful for the miracles I have seen at gateways.

I am grateful to my fellow trustees for the speed and efforts in redeveloping the part of the Kennedy Leigh Centre that is now gateways own independent space. It was turned around in record time over the summer break, so we could welcome our students in for the start of a new academic year. At times, it was touch and go, but my thanks go to our magnificent project manager Bob, who patiently and calmly dealt with a ‘can do’  attitude and responded sympathetically to every changing better idea that he and we came up with.

This was matched by our delightful, efficient and kind builders who were always welcoming and smiley and matched our determination to keep to time.

Huge appreciation to our amazing and growing professional team led by our founder and CEO, Laurence Field, who visioned a goal and then encouraged us to work with him to make it happen.

Any organisation is only as good as its people and everyone we have recruited in the last term has ably added to our team and enhanced our offering – they have been inspired by and matched the enthusiasm of our existing team who have transferred from JW3.

Change can be difficult, and we understand and are constantly communicating with each other to iron out difficulties.  Many thanks to the miracle that is our stalwart project manager Hazel Kaye, who held us all together, kept us on track and cared deeply for our cause and we hope will stay involved.

We are so grateful to our trusting and involved key partners the Wohl Legacy and The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation, who believe in our work and made it all possible. encouraging and supporting each step of the way, we appreciate their involvement, challenge and support.

To all our donors who have wanted to make a difference in our young people’s lives and who we are slowly bringing round to see their generosity in action.

Finally our students and their families who have adapted to a new home. I’m particularly excited that our current students are able to change the environment and make suggestions with open minded and student focused leadership. gateways is all about creating spaces that are comfortable and homely and meet their needs.

So as I reflect on this term I share the gratitude of all involved in gateways and look forward for sharing more in the future.

“Where there is a will there is a way “. We got there as many people need and believe that gateways is an essential part of the landscape of Jewish education. As we continue to analyse our impact we will see who,  how and why we are able to reach and support onward journeys in those who have found other types of education too overwhelming for different reasons.

The song “lo alecha” comes to mind and I think of this as the next phase in gateways journey , we will never finish this journey but nor shall we desist from it, just like at the beginning gateways started at LJCC with generous funding from the Jewish youth fund, in its humble haphazard beginnings of responding to the need of a particular cohort. It was then adopted, expanded and nurtured by the staff and trustees at JW3, who helped to develop it to this point and recognised the communities need for it to evolve further.

Now as an independent charity and the current custodians of the gateways purpose and magic – we have a responsibility to hold and enhance, guide, develop and continue to be a life line and an opportunity for those that need it.

We will be reaching out to other communities to share our ethos and our magic so it can be disseminated and benefit others and we will be meeting with other Jewish communities around the country to see how we can help those, not within our reach, by partnering with local excellence.

I’m proud to be involved at this stage of the gateways’ journey and to contribute to the continued success of its pupils and staff for many years to come.