The Jewish Blind Society, Manchester Branch, was formed following discussions between Louis M Glancy and the Honorary Officers of the London Jewish Blind Society. The inaugural meeting was held on 3rd July 1951.
The first meeting for members of the society was held at Henriques House, Elisabeth Street. A Monday social club was formed.
Louis Glancy House for the Blind based at 10 Bignor Street, Cheetham Hill opened on 14th June 1953. Open four days a week. Handicraft lessons were particularly popular.
Demand for services of MJBS expanded greatly; new premises were acquired at 85 Middleton Road, Crumpsall.
Meals on Wheels service introduced. All housebound blind people received a minimum of four meals per week, prepared at Louis Glancy House by the Ladies of the House Committee and Rota, delivered by volunteers. Holiday breaks were arranged for members at the Dolly Ross Holiday Home in Margate.
1960’s and 1970’s
17 July 1960 – Foundation stones for Residential and Holiday Home at Southport were laid. The Home opened in May 1962. By 1964 the Southport Home was fully occupied with a long waiting list. MJBS obtained support form Local Authorities within Greater Manchester, and from Jewish social, religious and educational organisations. Demand for the services of MJBS grew, 100 Meals on Wheels were cooked and delivered per week. The Welfare Officer made up to 20 visits per week; holidays for members and their carers were organised.
In the early eighties the Society cared for over 160 visually impaired people. Manchester House in Southport housed 32 permanent residents. In addition, members from the North and some from the South of the country were able to spend 2 weeks at the seaside home. The Victorian Louis Glancy House in Middleton Road grew into a state of disrepair, and was demolished in 1985. A new purpose built facility was built on the grounds; during the building period the club was relocated to Levi House.
13th July 1987
The Nicky Alliance Day Centre opened. The official opening was on the 20th March 1988. Initially open for 2 days a week plus Sunday afternoons, within a short time, it was open four full days a week. Attendances averaged at fifty a day. The Day Centre could no longer accommodate the number of members attending as well as the range of activities on offer. An extension – The Ralph Stross Wing- was built to the Centre, completed at the end of 1990.
The Jewish Blind Society merged with the Jewish Welfare Board to become Jewish Care. MJBS therefore became part of Jewish Care. Manchester House in Southport was sold to a private residential care provider. The organisation became autonomous in 1993. The Northern Jewish Talking Newspaper was established in partnership with the League of Jewish Women. The remit of the organisation changed. Due to advances in the treatment of visual impairment, there were less people suffering from this disability. The organisation focused on the needs of older and disabled people. The name of the organisation was changed to Manchester Jewish Community Care.
Care provision at the Centre was increased to include a Bathing Room and a Multi-Sensory Room.
2000’s – Present
The Centre continued to expand the scale and scope of its provision of care to older and disabled people. A memorial garden was established at the rear of the Centre. An art exhibition celebrating members’ work was arranged; it has become an annual event. The service became more streamlined and professional, and evolved into the organisation as it is today. The activities on offer are diverse and designed to stimulate mind and body. A range of exercise classes- to appeal to differing tastes and abilities- is available three times/ week. Art classes are available daily, computer classes are run twice a week. There is live entertainment every day. Discussion and Reminiscence sessions are very popular. Meals on Wheels provide 150 meals per week to those unable to cater for themselves. The increase in the incidence of dementia is reflected in the membership; the organisation has responded to this by providing state of the art training to staff and carers of people suffering from dementia related illnesses.
Bag Packers Raise over £770 at Morrisons.
A group of volunteer helpers have raised over £770 for the Nicky Alliance Centre by helping people with their bag packing at Morrisons supermarket in Whitefield. Shelley Blackston, fundraising executive at The Nicky, said: “The ladies who volunteered to help us worked relentlessly in shifts throughout the whole day to raise this significant amount of money for The Centre. We are grateful to them and to the management and staff at Morrisons for all their support. The money will go towards the running cost of The Nicky and help us to continue our work for the more senior members of our community.” Picture top left shows: L to R Benice Task, Arlene Valance, Janet Ludwig, Rochelle Stewart; Susan Chepner, Yvette Elton and Evelyn Yaffe. Middle, from L to R, Rochelle Gardner, community champion for Morrisons, Volunteers, Sue Caplan, Helena Rich, Joyce Levy, fundraiser Shelley Blackston Bottom left, Nita Beckman and her grandson.